Thursday, 24 November 2016

Champions league: Arsenal draw 2-2 with PSG


Arsenal squandered a chance to wrap up first place in Champions League Group A as Paris Saint-Germain hit back to earn a 2-2 at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.

Arsene Wenger’s side were on course to secure top spot and a possible easier draw in the last 16 after taking a 2-1 lead in the second half.

Having trailed to Edinson Cavani’s first-half opener, the Gunners equalised through Olivier Giroud just before the break and went ahead in the second half thanks to a Marco Verratti own goal.

But Lucas equalised in the closing stages to ensure Arsenal and PSG, who had both already qualified for the last 16, will have to wait until the final round of group matches to settle their fight for pole position.
Arsenal, who travel to Basel for their last match on December 6, sit second in the group, level on points with PSG, who play Ludogorets in their final fixture.

After paying the price for finishing second in their group several times in recent years, Wenger had called on his players to finish in first place so they might avoid yet another daunting last 16 draw.

But that message didn’t seem to have hit home as Arsenal made another unconvincing start just days after their tepid performance in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Manchester United.

PSG threatened an early opener when sloppy Arsenal marking allowed Uruguay striker Cavani to win a header in the penalty area and Thiago Motta narrowly failed to turn the loose ball into the net.

Unable to shake off their lethargy, Arsenal fell behind in the 18th minute.

Motta slipped a perfectly weighted pass towards Blaise Matuidi and, with Shkodran Mustafi caught flat-footed, the winger was able to direct a low cross into the six yard box, where the sliding Cavani had the simple task of netting his fifth Champions League goal this season.

PSG’s preparations had been disrupted when Ivorian defender Serge Aurier was stopped from entering the United Kingdom at the last minute.