Arsenal 2-0 Bayern Munich: Gunners off mark in Champions League
By Lewis Jones
Last Updated: 21/10/15 11:57am
Arsenal are up and running in Group F of the Champions League after a famous 2-0 victory over Bayern Munich at the Emirates.
Despite having just 27 per cent of the possession in the game, substitute Olivier Giroud bundled the Gunners in front on 76 minutes.
Before the opener it was a match dominated by goalkeeping brilliance from Petr Cech and Manuel Neuer.
With Bayern chasing a late equaliser, Arsenal doubled their lead in stoppage time as Mesut Ozil finished off a counter attack.
After defeats in Croatia against Dinamo Zagreb and at home to Olympiakos in their opening two games of the competition, Arsenal now are back in the hunt for qualification from the group stage.
The game took a few minutes to fall into a rhythm, but that wouldn't have bothered a portion of the travelling Bayern Munich fans, who staged a protest over the £64 tickets to sit in the away end by refusing to enter stadium for the first five minutes.
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Mesut Ozil sparked the match into life on seven minutes, marauding into space 20 yards from goal but Neuer pushed the ball away.
Xabi Alonso started to dictate things from his deep-lying position and he instigated a move that saw Thiago denied from 12 yards by Cech after a brilliant one-two with Robert Lewandowski.
Cech was called into action again on 28 minutes to fly across his goal to palm Arturo Vidal's effort from the edge of the box to safety.
The game was now flowing from end-to-end and Alexis Sanchez, who had struggled to get into the game, found space to fire a first-time effort from 18 yards just wide.
Neuer was just a bystander for that chance but he needed to be at his agile best minutes later to keep out a Theo Walcott effort.
The England man planted a header towards goal from eight yards which looked to have Neuer beaten but somehow he clawed the ball away from behind him with one hand. Aaron Ramsey was quick to the rebound but fired wide.
It was a save of such quality, it drew a standing ovation from the home fans.
Bayern continued to dominate possession in the second half but Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny stood strong, heading everything away that was thrown into their penalty area.
When Lewandowski did break free of their shackles on 54 minutes, Cech was once again there to tip a ferocious half-volley over the crossbar.
The battle between the Polish striker, who has already scored 22 goals in all competitions this season, and Cech increased in intensity and importance on 74 minutes.
Lewandowski broke free down the right hand side of the box but the Arsenal 'keeper stood tall and deflected the ball over the crossbar when everyone was expecting the net to bulge.
It was a match-defining save and one, with hindsight, that kept Arsenal's Champions League hopes alive. They were ahead with their next attack.
Giroud had only been on the pitch for three minutes after replacing Walcott but he caused nuisance from a long Santi Cazorla free-kick, which drew Neuer off his line, and the striker awkwardly bundled the ball home from eight yards.
The Emirates erupted.
Lewandowski had one more chance in injury time but he missed his kick when in a great position inside the box.
From that near miss, Arsenal cleared the ball and Hector Bellerin sped away down the right flank before crossing for Ozil to force the ball over the line from close range despite Neuer's best efforts. There was a moment of confusion as it seemed that Neuer had once again produced a truly stunning save but the goal was given by the extra official behind the goal.
Arsenal are now back on course to reach the knockout stages for the 13th season in a row.