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July 24, 2012 6:45 PM IST
 

Arsenal 2-1 Malaysia XI: Eisfeld & Aneke on target as Gunners produce late show to claim friendly victory

Arsene Wenger's side struggled to hit top gear in Kuala Lumpur but fought back in the closing stages to secure the win despite Azmi Muslim's stunning first-half opener

By Stephen Darwin

UEFA Champions League : Arsene Wenger, Arsenal FC v AC Milan
Getty
Arsenal picked up a win on the first leg of their tour of Asia as they struck two late goals to battle back from a goal behind to secure a 2-1 victory against the Malaysia XI in Kuala Lumpur.

Azmi Muslim had given the Malaysia XI a surprise lead on the stroke of half-time but with just minutes remaining the Gunners hit back courtesy of goals from substitutes Thomas Eisfeld and Chuks Aneke.

Despite being without the likes of Robin van Persie and summer signing Lukas Podolski, the Gunners named an experienced team for the friendly clash with Thomas Vermaelen, Mikel Arteta, Gervinho and Abou Diaby all starting.

With just seven minutes on the clock, though, it was the Malaysia XI who created the first opening of the match as Amar Rohidan burst past Francis Coquelin only to hit a shot from just outside the box that lacked power and was comfortably gathered by goalkeeper Vito Mannone.

Arsene Wenger's side created their first opening of the half just a couple of minutes later as Marouane Chamakh, given the chance to impress in the lone striker role, forced a decent save from Norazlan Razali at his near post.

And it was Chamakh that came close to breaking the deadlock again in the 21st minute as the former Bordeaux star attempted to direct Arteta's whipped corner goalwards. Razali was again on hand to smother the ball behind.

Safiq Rahim then had Mannone scrambling across his goal as his free-kick from the left bounced awkwardly in front of the Italian, who did well to divert the shot around his post.

The Gunners should have taken the lead in the 31st minute when Andre Santos squandered a golden opportunity. The Brazilian linked up well with Chamakh but, on his weaker right foot, shot wide with just Razali to beat.

Azamuddin Akil then forced Mannone into a decent save high to his left before Santos again wasted the opportunity to put Arsenal in front, Razali this time diving at the 29-year-old's feet to divert the ball behind for a corner.

At the other end, Mohd Sali latched onto a through ball with a clever run across Vermaelen before forcing Mannone into a save and it would not be long until the Malaysia XI found the breakthrough.

Deep into first-half stoppage time Muslim strode forward unchallenged before unleashing a terrific 25-yard drive into the top-left corner that flew past a rooted Mannone to leave the Premier League side a goal down heading into the break.

Wenger reacted by making 10 changes at half-time with goalkeeper Mannone the only survivor from the opening period as the likes of Alex Song, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were all introduced into proceedings.

The Malaysia XI continued to make impressive strides forward, however, with Kunanlan Subramaniam floating an effort just past the post before Benik Afobe struck the woodwork in the 54th minute only for Ryo Miyaichi to be flagged for offside.

The north Londoners were struggling to get their quick passing game going and Sali came close to putting the Malaysia XI 2-0 up as he cut inside into the box from the left onto his right foot but his shot lacked power and was dealt with by Mannone.

Afobe then had the chance to pull Arsenal level as he latched onto a clever through ball from Song but the 19-year-old, who spent the latter part of last season on loan at Reading, lacked composure and his tame chipped effort was claimed by Razali.

The Malaysia XI continued to cause their illustrious opponents problems as Sali bamboozled the Gunners defence with quick feet inside the box before firing a low shot goalwards that Mannone kept out at his near post.

Afobe then blazed woefully over the top but with just a few minutes remaining Wenger's side would force an equaliser courtesy of substitute Eisfeld.

Nico Yennaris did well down the right as he raced to the byline before cutting back for the former Dortmund midfielder, who shot high into the net to pull his side level.

And the Gunners would claim a second moments later as Aneke's deflected shot found the back of the net to ensure the first leg of the club's tour of Asia got off to a positive start.


Arsenal

25
Vito Mannone
Goalkeeper
 - 
25
Carl Jenkinson
Defender
46′
 - 
5
 - 
5
Johan Djourou
Defender
51′
 - 
28
Kieran Gibbs
Defender
46′
 - 
27
Andre Santos
Defender
46′
 - 
8
Mikel Arteta
Midfielder
46′
 - 
20
Francis Coquelin
Midfielder
46′
 - 
24
A. Diaby
Midfielder
46′
 - 
27
Gervinho
Striker
46′
 - 
29
 - 

Malaysia XI

 - 
1
 - 
-
 - 
3
Azmi Muslim
Defender
45′ 84′
 - 
4
 - 
8
Safiq Rahim
Defender
 - 
16
 - 
9
 - 
22
S Sali
Midfielder
 - 
16
Shakir Shaari
Midfielder
 - 
12
 - 
7

Substitutes

21
 - 
1
 - 
17
Alex Song
Midfielder
46′
 - 
15
 - 
31
 - 
14
 - 
27
Kyle Bartley
Midfielder
46′
 - 
48
Miquel
Defender
46′
 - 
58
 - 
40
Craig Eastmond
Midfielder
46′
 - 
46
Thomas Eisfeld
Midfielder
80′ 87′
 - 
34
 - 
33
 - 

Substitutes

 - 
19
 - 
27
Fadhli Shas
Defender
 - 
3
 - 
18
 - 
7
 - 
12
Amar Rohidan
Midfielder
 - 
22
 - 
-
Abu Samah
Midfielder
 - 
33
Nazmi Faiz
Midfielder
 - 
-
 - 
25

Coach/Manager

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 - 

Coach/Manager

 
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Jonathan Jonathan
Striker
Salzburg
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Marco Reus Marco Reus
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Borussia Dortmund
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Robert Lewandowski Robert Lewandowski
Striker
Borussia Dortmund
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Jakub Blaszczykowski Jakub Blaszczykowski
Midfielder
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