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Arsenal’s Champions League Hopes Hurt by 3-3 Tie With Norwich

Norwich rallied for a 3-3 tie at Arsenal in English soccer’s Premier League, hurting the Gunners’ chances of automatic qualification for the Champions League.

Steve Morrison scored in the 85th minute to give Norwich the away draw at Emirates Stadium. It came five minutes after Robin van Persie’s second goal put Arsenal in front.

The tie leaves Arsenal in third place at 67 points with one game left. Tottenham and Newcastle are both two points behind heading into their games. The top three teams in the standings automatically qualify for Europe’s elite Champions League, while fourth place enters a playoff.

Arsenal needed just 66 seconds to take the lead as Yossi Benayoun, celebrating his 32nd birthday, curled a shot into the top corner from the left side of the penalty area.

Norwich pulled even in the 12th minute when Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny wasn’t able to hold onto West Hoolahan’s shot. The visitors took the lead 15 minutes later as Grant Holt’s kick deflected in off Kieran Gibbs for his 14th goal of the season.

Van Persie tied the game with a 72nd-minute volley and gave Arsenal the lead eight minutes later with his league-leading 30th goal of the season. Morrison then tied the score with five minutes left.

Arsenal had a late penalty claim denied after van Persie appeared to be pushed into the goal by Kyle Naughton as he was about to tap the ball in. Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy then made several saves to preserve the draw.

In tomorrow’s games, Tottenham visits Aston Villa, Newcastle hosts first-place Manchester City and Manchester United, which is second behind City on goal difference, hosts Swansea. Also, West Brom is at Bolton, Sunderland visits Fulham, QPR hosts Stoke and relegated Wolverhampton is home for Everton.

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