Arsenal’s Champions League hopes still alive after victory


Arsenal remains on the bottom of Group F in the Champions League but the Gunners finally got their campaign under way with a 2-0 win over Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

After losing both opening matches for the first time, Arsenal desperately needed a win to keep alive its hopes of reaching the knockout round.

Arsene Wenger’s men delivered at Emirates Stadium, ending Bayern’s run of 12 straight wins with second-half goals from France striker Olivier Giroud and German Mesut Ozil.

“They dominated the game, but we knew that and we were able to finish it off,” Giroud said. “We needed this win to stay in the Champions League and to try and qualify for the next stage. We have to thank Petr Cech too, he had a fantastic game.”

Defending champion Barcelona remained in control of top spot in Group E as Ivan Rakitic scored both goals in a 2-0 win at BATE Borisov, while Roma came back from a 2-0 deficit in a 4-4 draw at Bayer Leverkusen in a topsy-turvy game.

In Group G, Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho complained about the referee after the Blues were held to a goalless draw at Dynamo Kiev. Porto tops the standings after its 2-0 defeat of Maccabi Tel-Aviv.

“The referee was weak and naive with the penalty,” said Mourinho after his side was not given a penalty when Cesc Fabregas went down in the area. “My first thoughts were that it looked like a spot-kick. I cannot understand what the referee behind the goal does, because he doesn’t make a clear decision too.”

In Group E, Neymar continued to lead Barcelona in Lionel Messi’s absence with two assists, and substitute Rakitic scored both goals to give Barcelona an easy 2-0 win in Belarus.

Coming off his four-goal performance over the weekend, Neymar created a steady stream of scoring chances for the defending European champions.

Rakitic, who went on for the injured Sergi Roberto in the first half, fired in a pinpoint strike from Neymar’s pass for Barcelona’s first goal in the 48th. Neymar found him a second time in the 64th.

The other Group E match was a wild back-and-forth shootout that ended with Bayer Leverkusen scoring two late goals to grab a 4-4 draw at home against Roma.

Daniele de Rossi scored two goals to cancel out early strikes from Leverkusen’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, before Roma took a 4-2 lead with goals from Miralem Pjanic and substitute Iago Falque.

But Kevin Kampl began Leverkusen’s comeback in the 84th and substitute Admir Mehmedi scored two minutes later to salvage the draw.

Barcelona has seven points, while Leverkusen remained second with four. BATE has three and Roma two.

Arsenal revived its hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League by beating Bayern Munich 2-0 in Group F.

Olivier Giroud scored in the 77th minute at the Emirates Stadium, bundling the ball into the net after Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer rushed off his line and failed to claim a free-kick from Santi Cazorla.

The ball appeared to come off Giroud’s arm last, after first hitting his head as he dived to make contact.

Ozil scored the second in added time, converting a cross from Hector Bellerin which Neuer pushed out after it had crossed the line.

Elsewhere in the group, Olympiakos won 1-0 at Dinamo Zagreb with a 79th minute goal from Ideye Brown.

Bayern and Olympiakos have six points each, three more than Zagreb and Arsenal.

“Everybody can win or lose a game in this group as proved today,” Brown said. “We have to show the same level of attention and dedication in the remaining matches.”

Valencia has six points, three less than Zenit. Lyon and Gent have one point each after three rounds.