LONDON: Olivier Giroud came off the substitutes’ bench to help give Arsenal a 2-0 win over Bayern Munich and keep alive their Champions League hopes.
The Germans had arrived in north London in imperious form after a Bundesliga record of nine consecutive victories and leaders of Group F with maximum points from two European ties.
However, Arsenal – who had lost their first two matches to sit bottom of the table – produced a resolute display and took the lead on 77 minutes when Giroud headed in after a mistake from goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who had earlier produced a brilliant save to deny Theo Walcott.
German playmaker Mesut Ozil scored a second in stoppage time to seal the win, his close-range effort given by the fifth official after Neuer had clawed the ball back from over the goalline.
Bayern have an immediate chance of revenge when Arsenal go to Munich early next month.
Bayern supporters held a protest at ticket prices for the opening five minutes – the slogans declaring ‘without fans football is not worth a penny’ – and were applauded from the home ends when they eventually took their seats.
Arsenal are now level on three points from three games with Dinamo Zagreb, with that pair three points behind Bayern and second-placed Olympiacos, who triumphed 1-0 at Dinamo Zagreb thanks to Brown Ideye’s 79th-minute goal.
Defending champions Barcelona strengthened their position at the top of Champions League Group E as a brace from substitute Ivan Rakitic steered them to a comfortable 2-0 win at BATE Borisov.
Rakitic, on in the first half for the injured Sergi Roberto, struck in the 48th and 65th minutes, both times having received the ball from Neymar.
It leaves Barca with seven points from three games and with a place in the next round looking ever-more secure, while BATE stay third in the pool with three points.
Elsewhere in that group, Bayer Leverkusen and Roma battled out a 4-4 draw in Germany that saw both sides produce remarkable comebacks.
The hosts had raced ahead early on thanks to a brace from Javier Hernandez – the first goal a penalty – but Daniele De Rossi drew the match level with a double of his own before half-time.
Miralem Pjanic subsequently put Roma in front with a superb free-kick, and substitute Iago Falque appeared to settle things by making it 4-2 with 17 minutes to go.
However, Kevin Kampl pulled back a delightful goal in the 84th minute and two minutes later Leverkusen substitute Admir Mehmedi notched a close-range equaliser.
It means the home side remain second in the group – with four points from three games – while their Italian opponents, two points worse off, stay bottom.
In Group G, Chelsea continue to lie third after they drew 0-0 at Dynamo Kiev, who were leapfrogged into top spot by Porto, 2-0 winners at home against rock-bottom, pointless Maccabi Tel Aviv courtesy of goals from Vincent Aboubakar and Yacine Brahimi four minutes apart at the end of the first half.
The Portuguese have seven points, Dynamo five and Chelsea four.
The night’s other action was in Group H, withZenit St Petersburg maintaining their 100 per cent record by beating bottom side Lyon 3-1 at home.
Goals from Hulk and Danny wrapped up the win after Artem Dzjuba’s opener for the hosts was cancelled out by Alexandre Lacazette.
Zenit are three points clear of second-placed Valencia, who defeated Gent 2-1 in Spain. The home side took the lead through Sofiane Feghouli and after Thomas Foket equalised, Stefan Mitrovic’s own-goal settled the match.