Theo hat-trick sparks ‘greatest ever Cup comeback’
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Arsenal staged a stunning League Cup fightback at Reading after trailing 4-0 in the first half on Tuesday, advancing to the quarterfinals with a 7-5 extra-time victory after Theo Walcott scored a hat trick, including strikes in injury time in both halves, and then in the last minute of extra time. The game that was branded the 'greatest ever Cup comeback.'
"It was an unbelievable game. I'm absolutely knackered now,'' Walcott said. "We've scored seven goals away from home -- it was great going forward. Maybe defensively it wasn't great at times, but we're in the draw and that's what matters.''
Arsenal's performance in the first half was so poor that some Gunners fans left the stadium after the team conceded a fourth goal in the 37th minute as Reading dominated against its Premier League rival. But after Walcott pulled one back just before halftime, he took the game into extra time with a last-gasp equalizer in the sixth minute of stoppage time. Substitute Olivier Giroud had netted the second for Arsenal and Laurent Koscielny, who earlier scored an own goal, made it 4-3 in the 89th.
Marouane Chamakh put Arsenal ahead for the first time in extra time with his first goal in almost a year, but Reading drew level again when Pavel Pogrebnyak made it 5-5 with four minutes to go. Walcott then completed his hat trick by slotting in a rebound from Andrei Arshavin's effort, and Chamakh lobbed goalkeeper Adam Federici in the closing exchanges to ensure Arsenal advanced.
"You always see new things in our game, that's why it's never boring,'' Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "It was a tennis match today. They had a fantastic start, we were not sharp and it was 4-0 and could have been one or two more. ... You cannot play for Arsenal and give up.''
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