Search

Arsenal throw away three-goal lead against Anderlecht in Champions League thriller

PUBLISHED: 21:45 04 November 2014 | UPDATED: 07:55 05 November 2014

Arsenal's Per Mertesacker looks dejected at the end of the game

Arsenal's Per Mertesacker looks dejected at the end of the game

EMPICS Sport

Arsenal 3 Anderlecht 3

Arsenal squandered the chance to book their place in the Champions League knockout stages as Anderlecht fought back from three down to snatch a dramatic point.

The Gunners seemed comfortably on course to wrap up qualification for a 12th successive year after Mikel Arteta’s penalty, followed by goals from Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, gave them a 3-0 lead.

But the Belgians kept alive their own hopes of a top two finish in Group D as Anthony Vanden Borre scored twice and substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic headed a last-gasp equaliser.

As they had done in Brussels a fortnight ago, Anderlecht often looked dangerous on the break and both Frank Acheampong and Dennis Praet had efforts deflected behind.

And the Gunners were rescued by Wojciech Szczesny when Sacha Kljestan’s neat footwork left Kieran Gibbs floundering, with the keeper reacting quickly to make the block.

However, Arsenal also threatened when they attacked in numbers and Aaron Ramsey got in a shot on the turn, only for centre-half Chancel Mbemba to hurl himself into the path of the ball.

Sanchez was denied by Silvio Proto at his near post, but inevitably the Chilean star was involved when the Gunners opened the scoring in the 24th minute.

Ramsey and Sanchez combined to play in Danny Welbeck, who tangled awkwardly with Mbemba and went tumbling to the ground, prompting referee Clement Turpin to award a questionable penalty that was calmly converted by Arteta.

And Arsenal were 2-0 up five minutes later when Sanchez was pulled back on the edge of the box by Vanden Borre and, when his free-kick bounced off the wall, he smacked the rebound first time into the bottom corner.

From that moment on, the home side looked comfortable and Oxlade-Chamberlain and Welbeck both went close to increasing their lead before half-time.

But the third goal arrived 13 minutes into the second period as Sanchez won possession and released Oxlade-Chamberlain, who streaked clear of Vanden Borre and sent a curling finish beyond the keeper.

Just as Arsenal’s qualification seemed to be assured, Anderlecht pulled a goal back, with Vanden Borre appearing to be offside as he stretched to turn in Cyriac’s low cross.

Although Welbeck almost restored the Gunners’ three-goal cushion with a close-range header, Proto gathered the ball at the second attempt, and the home defence suddenly found themselves under renewed pressure.

But the deficit was narrowed with a second dubious spot-kick – this time the referee decreed that Nacho Monreal had pulled down Andy Najar and Vanden Borre netted the penalty to make it 3-2.

Sensing the opportunity to maintain their own hopes of progressing in the tournament, the Belgians continued to push forward and Acheampong sent a left-foot drive whistling just over the bar.

And the visitors’ endeavour was rewarded in the final minute when Najar whipped over a teasing cross from the right and Mitrovic dived in front of Per Mertesacker to head the equaliser.

Arsenal: Szczesny; Chambers, Mertesacker, Monreal, Gibbs; Arteta Flamini 62); Oxlade-Chamberlain (Rosicky 82), Ramsey, Sanchez, Cazorla; Welbeck (Podolski 82).

Related articles

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington Sports News

Fri, 17:34

Today’s Friday Fanzone Q&A talks to ‘Highbury Harold’ a member of the Black Scarf movement – the supporter group ‘that says it like it is’. Read on for this fourth generation Gooner’s views on all things Arsenal...

Fri, 11:30

Extra £410,000 to identify and support young talent

Thu, 09:37

Islington and Camden’s two District Primary School teams played out a pulsating semi-final in the Kay Trophy at Chase Lodge – with Islington just getting through on penalties.

Wed, 08:29

Return to action after surgery leads to podiums

Wed, 06:00

Islington Boxing Club picked up two victories on an Eastgate ABC dinner show held at the Debenham Leisure Centre in Stowmarket.

Tue, 13:39

The nine-year-old boy from Islington who wowed people last year by conquering three of cycling’s most feared climbs is gearing up for another adventure – and this time his sister is coming along for the ride.

Mon, 16:30

Tottenham Hotspur Ladies saw their 27-game undefeated run come to an end with a valiant 10-0 defeat to north London rivals Arsenal but Karen Hills’ outfit can take plenty of pride away from the encounter.

Mon, 13:26

Alan Higgins will feel unlucky after losing his Southern Area Super-Middleweight title in a superb contest with Criag Richards.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now