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Carvalho powers CSKA top of group

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MOSCOW, Russia (Reuters) -- Arsenal's winning run in the Champions League came to an end on Tuesday when Daniel Carvalho fired CSKA Moscow to a 1-0 victory over last season's finalists and to the top of Group G.

CSKA's Brazilian playmaker blasted the ball home in the 24th minute, but Arsenal were left to rue an 86th minute strike by captain Thierry Henry that was disallowed and led to the French striker being booked.

Porto's hopes of qualifying for the last 16 from the group were still alive after crushing Hamburg SV 4-1 in Portugal.

Argentine striker Lisandro Lopez scored twice, the opening goal a tap into the net from a cross from the left by Brazilian teenager Anderson after 14 minutes.

In halftime stoppage time, Porto doubled the lead from a penalty by Argentina's Luis Gonzalez with a low shot to the right post of Hamburg goalkeeper Sascha Kirschstein after a handball by Lljuboja.

Helder Postiga scored the third in the 69th minute and Lopez weighed in with his second nine minutes from time.

Piotr Trochowski hit the German team's consolation goal one minute from the end.

Porto have four points from three games, three points behind leaders CSKA Moscow and two below Arsenal. Hamburg have none.

Arsenal's Henry was judged to have used his arm to control the ball as he brought it down late on, making it the third effort of the game in Russia to be disallowed.

Team mate Gilberto was denied by an offside position for Kolo Toure minutes ealier while CSKA's Brazilian striker Vagner Love had a strike disallowed for offside in the first half.

Defeat for Arsenal ended a run of six consecutive wins in all competitions, including their previous two Champions League games against Hamburg and Porto.

It also marked the return of their jinx in Moscow, where they had lost two and drawn one of their three previous visits since 1982.

Victory for the hosts sent CSKA to the top of the group on seven points, one ahead of Arsenal. Porto, who have one point, and Hamburg SV, who have lost both their previous games, faced off in Portugal.

Spark missing

Lacking their usual spark, Arsenal struggled throughout the game both to break down CSKA's packed defence and to contain their Brazilian attacking trio of Carvalho, Love and Dudu.

Arsene Wenger's side had most of the early possession, but seemed happy just to pass the ball along themselves and to probe the CSKA defense rather than go for full-out attacks.

That changed after CSKA won a free kick on the edge of the area and the ball was touched on by captain Sergei Ignashevich for Carvalho to thunder an unstoppable shot through a gap in the Arsenal wall.

Carvalho nearly added a second a few minutes later with a dipping 20-meter shot which Jens Lehmann pushed over the top, while Dudu was given a clear header which the German keeper gathered from the resulting corner.

Buoyed by their lead, CSKA had the ball in Arsenal's net again in the 35th minute, only for Love's effort to be ruled out.

In reply, Arsenal did show more bite going forward. But Dutch forward Robin van Persie failed to exploit two chances, over-hitting a through-ball for William Gallas on the break and then having an angled shot blocked by keeper Igor Akinfeyev.

CSKA continued to look dangerous after the re-start, threatening to catch Wenger's men on the counter as they pushed forward in search of an equalizer.

However, the well-organized Russian side were taking few chances in defense, which they packed in numbers whenever Arsenal tried to make headway.

Gilberto's hopes of equalizing were waved away in the 76th minute, after Toure got too far forward, while Henry had even worse luck after collecting a high ball and sweeping it past Akinfeyev from close range.

Arsenal get their chance of revenge on November 1, when the two sides meet in London.

CSKA players celebrate after Carvalho's goal gives them the group lead.



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