Sports Desk, Jan 13 (EFE).- Arsenal held Liverpool 0-0 Thursday in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semifinal despite having to play nearly 70 minutes with 10 men.
The tie was postponed a week due to a Covid-19 outbreak on the Liverpool squad and the rescheduling also necessitated reversing the sequence, which called for the first leg to take place at the Emirates.
And even with the delay, both sides were missing players for pandemic-related reasons, while Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are both away on African Cup of Nations duty.
The only moment of high drama at Anfield on Thursday came in the 24th minute, when Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka extended his leg in a desperate bid to divert a long ball from Andrew Robertson but ended up hitting Diogo Jota in the chest and bringing the striker down on the edge of the area.
For denying a goalscoring opportunity, the Swiss midfielder saw the fifth straight red card in his five seasons with the Gunners.
The Reds went on to dominate possession, yet they managed only one shot on target, the same as Arsenal, and Takumi Minamino – who started in the absence of Salah and Mane – fired over the cross-bar in the final minute of regulation on the best opportunity of the night.
Bukayo Saka forced Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson to make a save in the 72nd minute.
The teams will meet in London next Thursday for the second leg that will decide which of them faces Chelsea in the Feb. 27 final.