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Prasaanth Neelakandan,

Correspondent (Sport)

When two teams that play beautiful football face off, you know it’s going to be a treat to watch, not only for the teams’ supporters but for anyone looking to watch a good game of football. One of those teams may have seen decline from what had been a glorious past a decade back . The other , a team put together nut and bolt by a young wizard of a manager to become one of the powerhouses in Europe with ever improving performances. But when Arsenal took on Borussia Dortmund in London in their third round Group F fixture of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday,it was always going to be skill matched by skill , style matched by style , team work matched by team work. With the ever-colorful travelling Dortmund fans supporting their team ,Arsenal had a game on their hands inspite of their splendid campaign so far this season.

No team dominated the early exchanges as Reus saw a well struck effort from distance zip wide of the far post. But Dortmund found the opener soon later as an overconfident Aaron Ramsey was dispossessed  on the edge of the Arsenal box with ball played to Henrikh Mkhitaryan who dispatched the ball into the bottom corner from 18 yards. With Wilshere’s passes going astray and an almost non-existent Ozil kept away from the ball , Arsenal struggled to respond with a lonely Giroud working hard at the front . A thundering volley struck by Tomas Rosicky from 20 yards had beaten Roman Weidenfeller but was cleared off the line by Mats Hummels. The momentum was now with Arsenal and they soon made it count as Giroud took advantage of a mix up between Weidenfeller and Subotic to tap in an early cross from right-back Bacary Sagna. The second half started evenly with both teams sharing possession time looking to create chances but none came until 69th minute when substitute Santi Cazorla’s curling effort cannoned off the bar. However Cazorla’s continuing efforts to create the winner for Arsenal didn’t succeed as Robert Lewandowski ran in unmarked from the right to volley home a Kevin Grosskreutz cross and give Dortmund the lead. Dortmund sustained and held onto the lead giving Arsenal a lone chance at equalizing in the last minute of the game through Cazorla who saw his shot blocked by Neven Subotic.A famous win for Dortmund who handed Arsenal their first defeat since the opening day of the season. With Napoli beating Marseille in the other game of the group , three teams are level with six points each and Arsenal will be under pressure when they travel to Germany in two weeks time with some testy Premier League fixtures surrounding the game and likely to influence it. Meanwhile, Milan held Barcelona to a draw at San Siro in their Group H fixture while Chelsea and Manchester United posted victories against Schalke and Sociedad respectively. A Cristiano Ronaldo brace helped Real Madrid beat Juventus in their Group B Fixture at the  Bernabéu.

 

Image Courtesy: By KTo288 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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