Gunners power past Partizan
Marouane Chamakh and Sebastien Squillaci scored two late goals Tuesday to help injury-stricken Arsenal beat 10-man Partizan Belgrade 3-1 in the Champions League.
Arsenal converted its first chance in the match with Jack Wilshere surging ahead and delivering a backheel pass to Andrey Arshavin, who drilled the ball home past Partizan goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic in the 15th minute.
After Arsenal missed three good chances to increase its lead, Cleo tied the score in the 33rd from the penalty spot after Arsenal defender Denilson handled the ball inside the penalty area.
Arshavin then missed a penalty for Arsenal, before Chamakh made it 2-1 in the 71st by slotting in his own rebound after hitting the bar with a header. Squillaci sealed the victory on a close-range header after a corner kick in the 82nd.
Arsenal, which impressed by trouncing Braga 6-0 in the first round of the Champions League, missed several of its starters, including goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, key midfielder Cesc Fabregas and strikers Robin van Persie, Nicklas Bendtner and Theo Walcott.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger named only six of the eleven players who started against Braga, with Johan Djourou and fullback Kieran Gibbs among those brought in.
"We played quite well, considering the circumstances," Wenger said. "It was not an easy game."
Partizan was the first to threaten, with Cleo and midfielder Pierre Boya missing two good opportunities in the opening minutes when the Gunners’ defense appeared in disarray.
Partizan was a man down after Chamakh was tripped by Marko Jovanovic for the penalty in the 57th. The Partizan defender was red carded for the foul.
Lukasz Fabianski, who replaced Almunia in Arsenal’s goal, saved another penalty kick by Cleo in the 84th. He made another spectacular save in injury time on a close-range shot by Partizan winger Ivica Iliev.
"We played quite well, especially in the first half," said Partizan captain Mladen Krstajic. "After the red card, we could no longer cope with Arsenal."
In the other Group H game, Shakhtar Donetsk beat Braga 3-0 in Portugal. Arsenal and Shakhtar now lead the group standings with six points, leaving Partizan and Braga with none.