Arsenal enjoyed a rare victory against Bayern Munich after securing a penalty shoot-out triumph over the Bundesliga champions in Shanghai.
Wednesday’s International Champions Cup fixture followed the pattern of many of their Champions League meetings as Bayern were utterly dominant, but Robert Lewandowski’s eighth-minute penalty was all they had to show with Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech turning in a wonderful display.
James Rodriguez saw five chances at a first Bayern goal repelled by the veteran goalkeeper, whose efforts were rewarded in the 94th minute when Alex Iwobi headed home after a fine Arsenal move.
There was no repeat of the pair of 5-1 thrashings that Bayern dealt the Gunners last term, but Carlo Ancelotti’s men still looked a cut above, although they somehow came up short.
As the game entered a shoot-out, Renato Sanches hit the crossbar before Cech’s replacement Emiliano Martinez continued the hero act with saves from David Alaba and Juan Bernat.
Great work, @emimartinezz1!
Bernat denied by Emi’s low save to his left – and we win 3-2 on pens
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) July 19, 2017
Bayern were quickly into their rhythm, with James displaying early signs of a sound understanding with Lewandowski and Thomas Muller, who conspired to waste a chance in the third minute from the Colombian’s scooped throughball.
Arsenal’s defence featured 19-year-old Krystian Bielik and was helmed by Mohamed Elneny in the middle following Per Mertesacker’s withdrawal prior to kick-off.
The makeshift air was only heightened as Bayern ran through time after time, James firing into the sidenetting before Ainsley Maitland-Niles was pulled up for felling Bernat in the box and Lewandowski sent Cech the wrong way.
Mesut Ozil volleyed straight at the retirement-reneging Tom Starke, before Alexandre Lacazette fired at the goalkeeper when one-on-one in Arsenal’s only concerted spell of pressure in the first half.
Those efforts bookended Corentin Tolisso being denied by an incorrect offside flag after a brilliant move and Arsenal had no answer as Muller and Bernat had deflected efforts saved sharply by Cech, who reacted quicker than any of his defenders to close down James one-on-one as Bayern ran rampant without reward.
Granit Xhaka’s last-ditch tackle denied James on the stroke of half-time and he was once again frustrated by Cech early in the second half after Lewandowski allowed Kingsley Coman’s cross to run through.
Maitland-Niles’ reaction to a chastening outing at the hands of Franck Ribery was to clatter him and further Arsenal irritation was evident as Elneny left Tolisso writhing in pain.
But after the sting was quickly extracted from the game by a procession of substitutions from both sides, Arsenal suddenly found a second wind and Iwobi started and finished a sweeping stoppage-time move to force spot-kicks.
Alaba’s opening effort was saved by Martinez, but the scores were levelled out after two efforts each when Elneny’s shot was saved by 17-year-old Christian Fruchtl.
Sanches slamming his effort against the woodwork turned the tide, though, and Iwobi scored to make Bernat’s turn a must-score, only for Martinez to come up big again.
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