WTTGT Reporter: Tashan Deniran-Alleyne
ARSENAL 2-1 BORUSSIA DORTMUND
Arsenal progressed to the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League for the 12th successive year with a 2-1 victory of German champions Borussia Dortmund, with Robin van Persie again amongst the goals.
Arsenal named an unchanged team from the weekend as they went in search of the point to secure their passage into the knockout stages.
It was the visitors who started the brighter with Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny needing to be alert in the opening minutes to deny Robert Lewandowski.
The hosts grew into the game and Aaron Ramsey fed Theo Walcott, but he was denied by the on-rushing Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller. A lengthy stoppage in the game occurred due to a serious looking injury to Sven Bender who needed to be stretchered off the pitch.
Lewandowski sent a shot just past the post as the German side controlled large parts of the first half with Arsenal failing to provide any service for in form captain van Persie.
Arsenal found a moment of quality minutes before half-time as Walcott first time cross from the right seemed destined to be tapped home by van Persie but Weidenfeller got a strong hand to the ball to divert the danger.
The first half ended goalless with Arsenal still on course for the point to guarantee them a place in the knockout stages.
The visitors started the second half on the front foot, forcing corner then Shinji Kagawa drew a save from Szczesny at his near post.
But it was Arsenal who took the lead after fantastic play from Alex Song on the left who danced past two defenders and picked out van Persie who headed past Weidenfeller for his second champions league goal of the season.
Gervinho had the chance to double the lead after being put clean through by Ramsey, but was denied by the recovery of Mats Hummels. With the German champions needing at least a point to stay alive in the competition, they started to take a few risks and were almost punished when Andrei Santos fed substitute Yossi Benayoun but he couldn’t get a shot away.
The second goal did eventually arrive, five minutes from the time as Mikel Arteta’s corner was flicked on by Thomas Vermaelen and swept home by van Persie. Sloppy defending cost Arsenal a clean sheet as Kagawa scored a consolation goal for the visitors with the last kick of the game.
With Marseille losing at home to Olympiakos in the groups other game it meant Arsenal sealed their qualification as group winners and the first English team to progress this season.
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