Dortmund rescues point versus Arsenal

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.

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 matches.

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 shot.

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 Jurgen 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 August.