Ivan Perisic volleyed in a late equalizer as Borussia Dortmund
recovered to hold Arsenal to a 1-1 draw in their Champions League
Group F opener on Tuesday.
Perisic’s stunning strike came in the 88th minute after Marcel
Schmelzer’s free kick was only half-cleared by Kieran Gibbs.
Perisic’s first goal for the German champions canceled out Robin
van Persie’s 42nd-minute opener for Arsenal.
”Arsenal are a very offensive-playing team and we were able to
hold them,” Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp said. ”We were rewarded
with one point from this hard fight and it is great for this young
team to have achieved this draw.”
The draw left Marseille top of the group after Lucho Gonzalez
secured a 1-0 victory over Olympiakos.
”We were under a lot of pressure in the second half,” said
Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who felt he could do nothing
about the equalizer. ”Sometimes they go in and you take that. I
didn’t move. I believe I had no chance.
”We showed on Saturday against Swansea that we know how to play
football, we know how to win games. Today was a very tough fixture
but I think we can be happy.”
The manner of the draw was the latest blow for Arsenal, which
has collected just four points from its opening four Premier League
Van Persie saw a shot blocked after five minutes, but it was
Arsenal’s defense that lived dangerously.
The visitors came close to conceding after just 12 minutes, with
a goal-line clearance from Bacary Sagna required to keep out Robert
Lewandowski, who had rounded Szczesny.
There were fleeting Arsenal attacks, however. Dortmund
goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller was forced into a save after Van
Persie broke free, but the Netherlands international did find the
target just before half time.
Van Persie won possession from Sebastian Kehl and played a
one-two with Theo Walcott before beating Weidenfeller with his
After the break, Arsenal sat deep and soaked up the pressure,
although Marcel Schmelzer came close with a drive in the 55th
minute after ghosting down the left flank.
Gervinho created an opening for the Gunners but they were forced
to withstand an increasing number of attacks.
Only misplaced passing and finishing were costing Klopp’s side a
chance to equalize.
Szczesny did well to prevent Neven Subotic scoring from close
range when the Serbian defender latched onto Mario Gotze’s corner
in the 82nd.
And after Gotze fired wide moments later, the well-taken
equalizer finally came.
”We gave the ball away too much in the middle of the park which
is unlike us,” Arsenal assistant manager Pat Rice said.
Rice was in charge on the touchline while manager Arsene Wenger
serves a two-match touchline ban.
Wenger breached a previous one-match ban when he relayed
messages to the Arsenal dugout from the grandstand during the first
leg of the club’s Champions League playoff against Udinese in