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The first and the last time Arsenal and Arsene Wenger ever came close to winning the Champions League was in the 2005/2006 season when the Gunners lost the prestigious trophy to Barcelona at time and since then, the club have not come close to the final.
Arsenal great Jens Lehman has opened up as to the mistake that cost the Gunners the title, this is according to reports.
Lehman saw a red card just 18 minutes after kick-off for a clumsy challenge on former African footballer of the year Samuel Eto’o. Although, Ludovic Giuly had found the back of the net after the incident referee Terje Hauge still flashed a red card.
Arsenal were well into the game until Sol Campbell gave Arsenal the lead through a header. However, as typical with Arsenal, they were unable to hold on their lead for the entire duration of the game. Late goals from Eto’o and Juliano Belletti denied Arsenal their first and best chance ever at clinching the Champions league.
Lehman is currently one of the goalkeeping coaches for Arsenal and he revealed in his autobiography ‘The Madness is on the Pitch’ how he met with the then Man United manager Sir Alex Ferguson minutes after he was sent off.
‘After a few minutes, Thierry Henry had the first great chance, followed by two Spanish attempts on target which I could parry safely,’ he wrote. ‘Four minutes past nine, the infamous moment had come: Ronaldinho played his pass, Eto’o began to run, Lehmann grasped, [referee Terje] Hauge blew his whistle.
‘Following the dismissal, I slunk into the dressing room to put on a clean shirt. What was I to do now? For a few minutes, I sat around, irresolute, before climbing up the steps to the stands.
‘I bumped into Sir Alex Ferguson, who stared at me wide-eyed, as if he had seen Lucifer himself. ‘Bad luck,’ I said with a shrug, continuing on my way. ‘
When I had eventually found a seat, I was joined by Lasse and Mats [his children], who had been sitting with my wife and brother. I pulled them onto my lap and finally began to tear up.
‘There is no apt description nor any solace for this moment, in which all aims, hopes and ambition of the previous months disappear in a black hole of disappointment. ‘I suspected I would never again be part of a Champions League final but did not let the thought get to me at all.’