PSG take control after draw at Arsenal
LONDON, England (AP): PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN (PSG) moved ahead of Arsenal to take control of their Champions League group with a 2-2 draw in north London yesterday.
Lucas Moura’s header was helped over the line by Arsenal winger Alex Iwobi in the 78th minute as PSG retrieved a point in Group A.
Edinson Cavani had given the French capital club the lead at the Emirates Stadium but Olivier Giroud levelled from the penalty spot just before half time.
Arsenal went in front in fortuitous circumstances on the hour when the ball pinged off Marco Verratti and into his own net.
There was a glaring miss from Cavani before Lucas met a corner from Hatem Ben Arfa to ensure PSG rose above Arsenal on goal difference heading into the final group-stage games next month.
Top spot secures a game in the round of 16 against a group runner-up, but whether that is an advantage will only become clearer after the knockout phase draw.
Both German champion Bayern Munich and Manchester City will finish in second place, and holder Real Madrid are also currently a runner-up.
Bayern Munich had to settle for second best after losing to tenacious Russian club FC Rostov 3-2 in their contest.
Bayern had already qualified but will now finish second in Group D thanks to Atletico Madrid’s 2-0 win over Eindhoven. Rostov was already eliminated, but can reach the Europa League.
Two months after beating Rostov 5-0, Bayern struggled to deal with Rostov’s rapid counterattacks as well as a never-say-die spirit which brought it back from 1-0 down to claim arguably the most famous win in the club’s history.
Bayern’s Douglas Costa scored the opening goal in the first half, blasting the ball into the roof of the net after Rostov defender Cesar Navas failed to clear properly.
Rostov striker Sardar Azmoun showed the skill which has seen him linked to top clubs around Europe to draw level eight minutes later, just before half time. Azmoun charged into the Bayern box and sent Jerome Boateng sprawling with a smart feint before hitting the ball low past Bayern goalkeeper Sven Ulreich, starting in place of the rested Manuel Neuer.
Rostov took the lead after the break when Boateng brought down Christian Noboa in the box and Dmitry Poloz stepped up to hit the penalty low and hard past Ulreich.
Five minutes later, Bayern pulled level again when Juan Bernat scored with a fierce shot from a narrow angle.
Noboa hit the winner in the 67th, curling a 20m free kick over the Bayern wall and into the bottom-right corner.
Bayern laid siege to Rostov’s goal late on, but the Russians clung on for the win, blocking shots and packing the box until the final whistle.
Manchester City drew 1-1 away to Bayer Monchengladbach, Besiktas came from three goals down to draw 3-3 with Benfica, Barcelona tagged Celtic 2-0 on the road, while the Ludogorets vs Basel and Napoli vs Dynamo Kiev games both ended 0-0.
PSG’s Lucas (right) battles for the ball with Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs during the Champions League group A match at the Emirates stadium in London, yesterday. The game ended 2-2.