Dortmund deny Arsenal with stunning late equaliser
Borussia Dortmund 1 Arsenal 1: Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny declared himself happy with a draw from the Gunners’ Champions League encounter against Borussia Dortmund as an exquisite volley from substitute Ivan Perisic right at the death denied Arsene Wenger’s side a victory.
With Wenger forced to watch from the stands due to a touchline ban, it looked as if Robin van Persie had snatched an unlikely three points in Germany.
Having withstood a barrage of first-half attacks, the Holland international latched onto Theo Walcott's through ball to fire home just three minutes before the break.
However, Dortmund continued to dominate in the second period with their brand of free-flowing football and their tactics paid dividend with just two minutes remaining.
The ball broke free to Perisic on the edge of the box and the summer signing unleashed a superb volley to equalise, much to the delight of the raucous home support who were watching their side in Champions League action for the first time in nine years.
“We were under a lot of pressure in the second half,” said Szczesny.
“Sometimes they go in and you take that. I didn't move. I believe I had no chance.
“Today was a very tough fixture but I think we can be happy.”
Szczesny felt the absence of Wenger from the dressing room and the bench didn’t have an impact on the players.
“Pat Rice did a great job. He's got the ability to motivate the team, he shouts a lot and he got us going,” he said
Defender Bacary Sagna said “It's a good point. They're a good team, they did well last year. We were expecting this type of game and we got it.”
Van Persie saw a shot blocked in the fifth minute and when the ball broke to Gervinho in the resulting play he forced Roman Weidenfeller into action.
However, Dortmund looked dangerous with their free-flowing 4-2-3-1 formation and would have netted immediately after
wards if Kevin Grosskreutz had shown a bit more composure in front of goal.
Shinji Kagawa was the next to get a shot away four minutes later, although he too blazed over the bar.
Arsenal's defence was living a charmed life as Dortmund continued to attack and only a goal-line clearance from Sagna thwarted Robert Lewandowski after he had rounded Szczesny.
The Gunners looked to have weathered the storm as they began to establish a larger proportion of possession but Mario Gotze turned a Mikel Arteta corner into an attack that ended in Grosskreutz putting over.
While the home side were dominating proceedings, the north Londoners were looking dangerous in their fleeting attacks and Weidenfeller was forced to save well when Van Persie broke free.
The Dutchman was not be denied for long and after winning possession on the halfway line, he ran onto a Walcott ball to fire past Weidenfeller.
Despite the visitors taking the lead, Dortmund stuck with their plan in the second period and continued to knock the ball around nicely.
Gervinho managed to eke out an opportunity for the Gunners but they were forced to withstand an increasing number of attacks as the half wore on.
Szczesny did well to prevent Neven Subotic scoring from close range when the Serbian defender latched onto a Gotze corner in the 82nd minute.
Gotze screwed wide moments later as Dortmund pressed for an equaliser, which came in the 88th minute through Perisic's wonder goal. The ball fell kindly to the substitute from a corner and he unleashed a volley that rifled into the top right-hand corner.