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22 Sep 2010

Samir Nasri scored two penalties in extra time to help earn Arsenal victory over Tottenham in the Carling Cup.

The Gunners dominated the first half and took the lead when Jack Wilshere crossed for Henri Lansbury to slide in.

Spurs improved after the break and Robbie Keane, a half-time substitute, slotted in from 18 yards to level.

But Nasri scored when Sebastien Bassong tugged him back and again after Steven Caulker fouled Marouane Chamakh, with Andrey Arshavin firing in a fourth.

The Spurs fans could barely believe how quickly the game disappeared from their grasp as the spot-kicks were both scored in the first six minutes of extra time, just when the hosts seemed to be in the ascendancy.

Tottenham had fought hard to get back into the game after being run ragged by a fluent Arsenal side before the break, only for two moments of defensive weakness to cost them dearly.

But the way the game began, it did not appear as though the visitors would need extra time to secure their place in the fourth round.

Wenger, serving a one-match touchline ban from the stand after his reaction to Sunderland's late leveller in the Premier League at the weekend, picked a stronger XI than usual for this stage of the competition and the Gunners were comfortably the better of the teams.

After Lansbury's appeals for a penalty were waved away, he raced into the box to convert Wilshere's cross from the left as the visitors gained just reward for their fluent start.

Spurs were having to settle for soaking up pressure and trying to hit Arsenal on the break, with David Bentley twice wasting decent openings and Roman Pavlyuchenko firing into the side-netting from 18 yards.

Having laboured for most of the first half, Tottenham came out after the break with all guns blazing and the words of manager Harry Redknapp still ringing in their ears.

Keane and Aaron Lennon came on in place of the ineffective Giovani dos Santos and Jake Livermore - and it took only four minutes for the re-jigged side to give the home fans something to shout about.

Standing in a borderline offside position, Keane was allowed to play on when he collected Kyle Naughton's pass and by shooting early from 18 yards he seemed to take Lukasz Fabianski by surprise, the keeper only managing to push the ball into the corner of the net.

Spurs were buoyed and seemed a different side, with Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny having to be alert to make strong challenges on Brazilian debutant Sandro and Lennon as they were about to shoot.

Wenger sent on Chamakh and Arshavin to try and win it in normal time but it was Spurs who had the last opportunity in the 90 minutes, Keane deflecting a Bentley free-kick on to the post from two yards.

Extra time was less than a minute old when White Hart Lane was silenced by Bassong's foul on Nasri, the French winger coolly stepping up to send the home side's goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa the wrong way from the spot.

Minutes later it was like Groundhog Day as 18-year-old Caulker grabbed Chamakh's arm inside the box and Nasri again sent Pletikosa the wrong way, the cue for hordes of Spurs fans to head for the exits.

Those who left early missed Bentley heading against a post from six yards when it looked easier to score, before Arshavin fastened on to a quickly taken free-kick to drill in a fourth and put the result beyond any doubt.

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