Arsenal held 1-1 by Dortmund in CL opener

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

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 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.