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Arsenal crush Bayern Munich to revive Champions League campaign •Chelsea hold Dynamo Kiev

By News Express on 21/10/2015

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Had it not been for a very uncharacteristic miscue by the world’s best goalkeeper and a lucky bounce for the world’s most beleaguered striker, the world’s most angst-ridden soccer team would have very nearly been out of the Champions League with half the group stage yet to play.

But Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer flapped at a high 77th-minute free kick and got nowhere near it. An unwitting Olivier Giroud found himself underneath the ball when Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Muller couldn’t quite get to it beyond Neuer’s reach. And so the Frenchman’s face redirected the ball – while he had his eyes closed – and sent the ball skipping into the net.

Until that moment, Neuer seemed to have proven his transcendence yet again with what will surely be remembered as one of the saves of the season. In the 33rd minute, Nacho Monreal found the wide open Theo Walcott with a cross. But Neuer’s stupendous save, resembling a cat stepping on a hotplate, warded off an early go-ahead goal for Arsenal.

And so, with a 2-0 win eventually secured on an injury-time goal by Mesut Ozil, Arsenal is very much back in the race to advance out of Group F thanks to last night’s points at the Emirates. Bayern, meanwhile, suffered its first loss of the season and failed to win for the first time since going to a penalty shootout against Wolfsburg in the DFL Supercup in the season opener.

But had a few things shaken out differently, the Gunners would have had just a single point from nine if their game with the German juggernauts would have ended in a 0-0 stalemate. That would have made it a draw and two losses in their European campaign so far.

After burning through two of their three home games, Arsenal's yield almost was very sparse, following a 2-1 away loss to Dinamo Zagreb and then more spilled points in a 3-2 defeat to Olympiakos at the Emirates. Had the Gunners not mustered a win over the Bavarians, they would have threatened to miss the knockout rounds for the first time since 1999. For the 15 consecutive seasons since then, Arsenal never failed to advance – even finishing as runners-up in 2006.

Neuer commenced his handy work in just the seventh minute when he parried Ozil’s shot well. At the other end, however, Petr Cech reacted well to a Thiago Alcantara shot, as he would several times throughout the game.

But if the Gunners had the better of the chances, they were nevertheless dominated. Bayern hogged the ball but did very little with it. It didn’t make for a pretty picture, to say nothing of the stat sheet. At one point late in the game, Bayern had gobbled up 70 percent of possession and completed 600 passes to Arsenal's mere 175.

Still, in the 94th minute, with Bayern pressing for an equalizer, Hector Bellerin – who had been embarrassed by Douglas Costa in the first half – scampered away and crossed for Ozil. Neuer seemed to have denied Arsenal yet again, but the goal line official rightly ruled that the ball had crossed the line.

Arsenal didn’t merely slay one of its continental dragons – Bayern has a habit of knocking the Londoners out in the round of 16, as it has done twice in the last three years – but saved its European campaign from a very premature and almost certain death.

It was also a good night for another English Premiership giants Chelsea, who drew 0-0 away at Dynamo Kiev in a Group G game in Kiev. (Yahoo/AFP)

Photo shows Arsenal players celebrating a victory.

Source News express

Posted 21/10/2015 05:39:38 AM

 

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