.Wenger Says It’s A Huge Victory For EPL Side, Arsenal
Last season’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund’s first home defeat to an English side thanks to Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey’s solitary goal allowed the Gunners to assume top spot in the Group F of the UEFA Champions League.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hailed his side’s intelligence after Ramsey’s second-half header secured a crucial 1-0 victory over Dortmund following a smash-and-grab raid at their Westfalenstadion fortress.
All the pre-match hype had been over Jurgen Klopp’s “heavy metal” approach looking to again overcome Wenger’s Arsenal “orchestra” as they had at the Emirates Stadium a fortnight ago.
While Klopp’s well-drilled side did dominate for long spells as they looked for an eighth successive home Champions League win, having never lost against English opposition, the Germans were made to pay for not converting their chances when Ramsey nodded home a knockdown from Olivier Giroud on 62 minutes.
Wenger said: “We were light metal. This is a huge result. We had a united, focused performance, especially defensively.
“We had a lot of possession, but it was a bit sterile possession in the first half because we could not create chances.
“It was a question of being focused and intelligent, and not to make the first mistake, to wait for the moment where we could create openings in their defence. We did that.
“We had a difficult period at start of second half, but after we scored I felt we could have scored a second goal and we were less under pressure. Overall it’s a huge win for Arsenal here.
“If you look at the results they have made at home in the Champions League, not many teams have achieved that.”
However, Arsenal are ahead of Napoli only on goal difference after the Italian club won 3-2 in Marseille to make it a three-way contest for qualification. Striker Gonzalo Higuain scored twice, both times giving his side the lead with his second proving the decisive strike.
Andre Ayew put the visitors in front but Gokhan Inler and Higuain scored within three minutes of each other to give Napoli a 2-1 half-time lead. Florian Thauvin pulled Marseille level just past the hour only for Higuain’s intervention with 15 minutes remaining, meaning a draw in Dortmund next time out will secure qualification.
Chelsea need a point from their match in Basel on match day five to secure their progress after a comfortable 3-0 win over Schalke. Samuel Eto’o hit two, his first following a lucky rebound off goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand’s clearance, and a late goal from Demba Ba wrapped up the result.
Basel snatched a point at home to Steaua Bucharest thanks to Giovanni Sio’s 90th-minute goal after Federico Piovaccari had put the visitors ahead in the first half.
Meanwhile, Lionel Messi ended his mini-drought in front of goal with a brace as Barcelona qualified for the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League following a 3-1 win at home to AC Milan.
The Argentina international had not scored in his last three appearances – his worst run for a year – since his equaliser in the San Siro late last month but got scored from the penalty spot after Ignazio Abate had fouled Neymar in the area.
Sergio Busquets exploited a non-existent Milan defence to head in Xavi’s free-kick five minutes before the interval but Barça’s control was shaken by Gerard Pique’s own goal with virtually the last kick of the half. However, Messi made sure of the victory seven minutes from time when he converted a return pass from Cesc Fabregas for his 65th goal in 82 Champions League appearances