herald

Sunday 20 August 2017

Arsenal gain a 'snatch and grab' victory over Anderlecht

Anderlecht's Gohi Bi Zoro Cyriac, right, attempts to tackle Arsenal's Jack Wilshere during the Group D Champions League match between Anderlecht and Arsenal
Anderlecht's Gohi Bi Zoro Cyriac, right, attempts to tackle Arsenal's Jack Wilshere during the Group D Champions League match between Anderlecht and Arsenal

Substitute Lukas Podolski netted a dramatic late winner as Arsenal came from behind with two goals in the final two minutes to beat Anderlecht 2-1 and hand manager Arsene Wenger a 65th birthday to remember at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium.

It had looked like the Gunners were set for a second away defeat in Champions League Group D after the Belgians went ahead through Andy Najar on 71 minutes.

However, just as time was running out, England full-back Kieran Gibbs cracked in a superb volleyed equaliser, before German forward Podolski swept home a dramatic winner.

Arsenal had started brightly, but Santi Cazorla blasted an early chance horribly wide after good work from Alexis Sanchez.

Anderlecht had a point to prove having been undone 3-0 at home by the Group D leaders Borussia Dortmund last time out and were dangerous going forwards, led by Cyriac, the former Charlton forward, and the industry of Dennis Praet, who once had a trail at Arsenal as a teenager.

The Gunners had plenty of possession in the Anderlecht half, but rarely looked like breaking down the home defence during a tepid first half.

Sanchez saw a close-range flick saved after a floated free-kick into the Anderlecht penalty area as Arsenal showed some signs of life, with Aaron Ramsey then shooting just wide.

Arsenal's clearest opening of the night came on 63 minutes when Cazorla was played clear down the left, but his angled drive was saved by Silvio Proto.

Anderlecht took the lead on 71 minutes.

A quick break saw the ball worked out to Praet on the right side of the Arsenal penalty area and his floated cross was headed into the bottom right corner by Najar, who got between Per Mertesacker and Chambers.

Wenger made a double change as Mathieu Flamini was replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joel Campbell came on for Welbeck.

It almost got worse for Arsenal when, following another swift counter, Vanden Borre saw his miskicked shot loop up onto the top of the crossbar.

Arsenal looked set to be left with plenty of questions from another disappointing result, but there was to be high drama in the closing moments.

The ball was worked out to Chambers, who floated over a deep cross towards the far post, where Gibbs arrived at pace to crash the ball back into the opposite corner. Arsenal were not about to settle for a point, however, and poured forward with Podolski netting in the 91st minute.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News