Friday , December 15 2017

Arsenal stun Bayern on ‘penalties’ in Shanghai – Solanke shines as Liverpool down Palace in Hong Kong

SHANGHAI, July 19, (AFP): Arsenal were outplayed for long periods by Bayern Munich before salvaging a last-gasp draw and then winning 3-2 on penalties in a Shanghai friendly on Wednesday.

Reserve goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was the unlikely hero for the Premier League side, saving Juan Bernat’s soft spot kick after Arsenal substitute Alex Iwobi made it 1-1 right at the end of normal time.

It may only have been a friendly and Arsenal emerged victorious, but it made for painful viewing at times for manager Arsene Wenger, whose side suffered a 10-2 aggregate drubbing to Bayern in last season’s Champions League.

Robert Lewandowski needed just nine minutes to fire Bayern ahead from the penalty spot as the German champions dominated before Iwobi headed in at the death.

There will be no Champions League for Arsenal this term and a gulf in class was evident.

At one point in the opening period at Shanghai Stadium, where temperatures hovered around 36 degrees Celsius (97F), Wenger had his arms outstretched in frustration.

And at the end of a first half in which Bayern could have scored another five times but for goalkeeper Petr Cech, Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil booted the ball high into the air in anger.

The future of the German international, and that of Chilean star Alexis Sanchez, is in major doubt with both stalling over new contracts.

Sanchez is enjoying extra time off and is not in China after his involvement in the Confederations Cup.

But he may not have made a difference against Carlo Ancelotti’s side, who took the lead after Ainsley Maitland-Niles had brought down Bernat in the box and Lewandowski did the rest.

Iwobi’s injury-time leveller sent the game straight to penalties.

Both sides fielded a mixture of first-team regulars and reserves, with new Bayern signing James Rodriguez and new Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette starting.

Arsenal face Chelsea in Beijing in their next warm-up game at the weekend, while Bayern play AC Milan in Shenzhen, southern China.

Arsenal were ravaged by food poisoning in Shanghai that ruled several key players out of their preseason friendly with Bayern Munich on Wednesday, manager Arsene Wenger said.

The Frenchman revealed the sickness that had swept the Arsenal camp, coupled with the severe heat in China and long flights, made for far-from-ideal preparations for another taxing campaign.

Wenger was shorn of Olivier Giroud because of food poisoning, then captain Per Mertesacker pulled out of the game just moments before kick-off because he too fell ill with the same problem.

New signing Sead Kolasinac also had to come off before the break, while Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott were only substitutes because they were sick.

Meanwhile, new signing Dominic Solanke came off the bench to score as Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 2-0 in a preseason game in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

The 19-year-old suggested he could prove a summer bargain at $4 million as he linked up well with fellow striker Divock Origi, who also got on the scoresheet in the Premier League Asia Trophy win.

Origi set up the first for Liverpool on the hour mark with a clever back-heel that found Solanke unmarked and the teenager made no mistake, finishing coolly in the stifling Hong Kong heat.

Origi then rifled home Liverpool’s second in the 79th minute, to the delight of a crowd of 40,000.

Jurgen Klopp’s new-look front line proved a welcome distraction for the German coach following reports that Leipzig had rejected a huge bid of $86 million for midfielder Naby Keita.

Liverpool will face Leicester City in the Asia Trophy final on Saturday after the Foxes won the earlier match 7-6 on penalties over West Bromwich Albion following a 1-1 stalemate in normal time.

New signing Jay Rodriguez gave West Brom the lead with a stunning strike after nine minutes, only for Riyad Mahrez to squeeze the ball past Ben Foster to level things up midway through the first half.

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