Wednesday 17 January 2018

Perisic brilliance denies Gunners at the death

Borussia Dortmund 1
Arsenal 1

borussia d'mund 1, arsenal 1, Henry Winter

After recent travails, Arsenal would have settled for a point in the passion pit that is the home of Borussia Dortmund, but eventually they left with a slight feeling of frustration.

They were on the back foot for most of the night, defending Robin van Persie's fine strike with real guts, until two minutes from time.

Until then, they had resisted superbly the wave after yellow wave flooding towards them. Bacary Sagna, the outstanding Alex Song and Wojciech Szczesny stood firm, magnificently so until two minutes from time when Borussia came calling again.

Szczesny did not even have time to flinch, let alone make meaningful movement when Ivan Perisic let fly with a left-footed volley.

It was the least that Borussia deserved, such was their relentless attacking and the endless backing of their wonderful fans, but up in the smart seats, a certain Frenchman winced in frustration.

For the man fidgeting in Seat 63, Row 24, Block 27, this must have made for the most anxious of viewing until Van Persie turned the first-half script on its head with three minutes remaining.

Wenger's touchline ban had brought him an evening with the Dortmund canape set, but his team could have given him indigestion until Theo Walcott delivered an exquisite pass and Van Persie scored with a right-footed finish three minutes before the break.

Arsenal's defence again appeared vulnerable to quick movement throughout, yet they showed the type of mettle that had so deserted them at Old Trafford.

For all the endless backing of the home support, frustration began to seep into the veins of Borussia players. Marcel Schmelzer was furious that Gervinho had not been punished for an offence against him, so he duly clattered the Arsenal attacker and earned a caution.

Pat Rice removed Walcott, sending on Emmanuel Frimpong to stiffen midfield. He immediately made a vital clearance. And when Borussia did break through, and Neven Subotic shot goalwards, there was Szczesny dropping down smartly to save.

But then came Perisic to get a point the home side deserved and one that Arsenal might, in the end, be thankful for. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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