Arsenal beats Bayern Munich 2-0 in the Champions League
LONDON (AP) Goals from Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil helped Arsenal end a run of two consecutive defeats in the Champions League with a 2-0 victory over Bayern Munich on Tuesday.
Arsenal knew that victory in at least one of its next two matches against Bayern would be vital for advancing from Group F, and it managed to inflict a first defeat of the season on Pep Guardiola’s side.
The three points gained at the Emirates Stadium puts Arsenal back in the hunt for qualification. Bayern stays top of the group, level on six points with second-place Olympiakos, which beat Dinamo Zagreb 1-0. Dinamo and fourth-place Arsenal have three points each.
”We had an absolute necessity to win the game and we did it,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. ”Bayern had more possession than us but we decided to make it tight in the final third and catch them on the break. I think we have beaten a very strong team. We must get a result in Munich.”
Substitute Giroud gave Arsenal the lead when he bundled the ball into the net on the 77th minute, after Manuel Neuer rushed off his line and failed to claim a free-kick into the penalty area from Santi Cazorla.
Ozil sealed the win in stoppage time, converting a cross at the byline from Hector Bellerin. Neuer hooked the ball away, but only after it had crossed the line and the goal was confirmed by the fifth official.
Bayern controlled possession throughout the first half at the Emirates Stadium and Arsenal relied on saves from Petr Cech to deny Thiago Alcantara and Douglas Costa.
Yet for all the German side’s dominance, it was Arsenal which went closest to taking the lead before halftime.
Nacho Monreal delivered a precise cross down the left in the 33rd minute, finding Theo Walcott unmarked on the six yard line.
The striker flicked a header at goal, only for Neuer to make an astounding one-handed save to claw the ball off the line.
Despite an indifferent display from Neuer, with his error leading to Arsenal’s first goal, Guardiola refused to lay the blame with him.
”We didn’t lose because of Manuel Neuer,” Guardiola said. ”In the first half, he made some really great saves. He took a decision and that’s it. We had enough chances to win the match, or at least not to lose. I’m so proud of my team, I like to win and I’m not happy, but we played with a lot of courage.”
Cech came to Arsenal’s rescue in the second half, smothering an opening one-handed when Robert Lewandowski was through on goal in the 75th minute. It was a vital save, as Arsenal got the free kick which resulted in the first goal in the next foray forward.
When Arsenal next faces Bayern in Germany, it could be without Aaron Ramsey, who went off injured after 58 minutes, holding his right hamstring.
There could also be trouble from UEFA before then, following a protest about ticket prices.
Hundreds of seats were left vacant in the Bayern supporters section for the first five minutes of the game, with two signs placed across the rows of seats, sending the message `64 pounds a ticket but without fans football is not worth a penny.’
This story has been corrected to show that Arsenal is fourth, not third.