Dortmund beats Arsenal 2-1 in Champions League
LONDON (AP) — Robert Lewandowski scored in the 82nd minute to give Borrusia Dortmund a 2-1 Champions League win at Arsenal on Tuesday, ending an unbeaten run for the Premier League-leading Gunners that stretched back to mid-August.
Lewandowski met a cross from right back Kevin Grosskreutz to side-foot past Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny at the far post for the winner.
“We have to fight for the moments,” Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp said. “I saw my team fighting. I saw them fighting for this one situation. It was the best attack in the whole game. It was a brilliant cross and a brilliant finish from Lewandowski.”
Dortmund scored first when Henrikh Mkhitaryan drove in a low shot in the 16th that beat Szczesny after Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey lost possession when he was tackled from behind just outside the area. Lewandowski pounced on the ball and set up Mkhitaryan.
Arsenal equalized in the 41st when Olivier Giroud fired into an empty net from a yard out after a cross from Bacary Sagna caused confusion in the box as Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller and center back Mats Hummels attempted to clear the danger. The ball deflected off Weidenfeller’s torso and looped up perfectly for Giroud.
Both teams have six points after three matches in Group F and are equal with Napoli. The match appeared to be heading for a draw in the rain before the late counterattack from Dortmund down the right ensured Arsenal’s first defeat since Aug. 17.
“I felt that we started a bit hesitant,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. “We gave them confidence. I believe our movement going forward wasn’t quick enough. It can happen if you play many games. We weren’t at our best tonight.”
Wenger questioned whether Lewandowski should have been on the pitch after elbowing Arsenal center back Laurent Koscielny in the face, but the Poland international escaped with a yellow card.
“It looked like that (a red card),” he said. “The referee was in a better position than I was and he didn’t give it.”
Klopp, who was watching the match from the stands as he served out a two-game ban, didn’t think Lewandowski should have been sent off.
“From what I saw on the stand, it was a hard situation,” Klopp said. “I don’t think it was a red card. The referee saw it really good. Koscielny had no problems after this.”
Dortmund left Arsenal chasing the match from the start at Emirates Stadium in front of 60,000 fans. The German club, a Champions League finalist last season, pressed high up the pitch, leaving Arsenal to defend deep for long periods and stifling its usual attacking rhythm. Marcos Reus had several chances to score early on.
But the Gunners found their stride in the closing minutes of the first half, with Tomas Rosicky firing a shot that was cleared from the line by center back Mats Hummels. Earlier, Giroud claimed he should have had a penalty in the 22nd when the forward was brought down on the right side, but TV replays showed the foul was committed just outside the box. Laurent Koscielny headed the free kick well over the bar.
Santi Cazorla, who recently returned from injury, hit the crossbar in the 69th, but Arsenal lost the passing battle in midfield, with Dortmund out-thinking and outmuscling the home side. The Gunners were missing defensive midfielder Mathieu Flamini, who is recovering from a concussion. Midfielder Jack Wilshere left the match with about a half-hour to go after injuring his right ankle. It wasn’t immediately clear how serious it was.
Wenger said Dortmund was the most physical side Arsenal lineup has faced so far this season.
“It was a game of high intensity physically, but a game of very few chances,” Wenger said. “I think Dortmund was very well organized. I didn’t think we were as good as we could be offensively.
“Dortmund put us on the back foot with the first goal. I think we were a bit naive on the second goal.”
The result spoiled Wenger’s 64th birthday, and Klopp jokingly apologized for that.
“I’m sorry about this, really,” Klopp said. “But it’s a problem of the date. I have a birthday in June, I’m always on holiday.”