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UEFA Champions League

  • November 23, 2011
  • • 19:45
  • • Emirates Stadium, London
  • Referee: F. De Bleeckere
  • • Attendance: 59531
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Arsenal 2-1 Borussia Dortmund: Red-hot Robin van Persie scores twice as Arsene Wenger's side secure first place in Group F

Arsenal 2-1 Borussia Dortmund: Red-hot Robin van Persie scores twice as Arsene Wenger's side secure first place in Group F

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The Gunners are safely through to the knockout stages of the competition after a brace by the Dutchman as he continues his impressive form

Arsenal secured qualification to the knockout stages of the Champions League after a 2-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.

The Gunners found themselves on the back foot in the first half, failing to create any real opportunities. However, a double from captain Robin van Persie saw the London club go through with a match to spare at the top of Group F.

Both Arsene Wenger and Jurgen Klopp named unchanged teams from their weekend victories away to Norwich City and Bayern Munich respectively.

The in-form trio of Theo Walcott, Van Persie and Gervinho spearheaded the attack for the Gunners, while Mario Gotze and striker Robert Lewandowski were both given the nod for the visitors.

Dortmund appeared the hungrier of the two sides from kick-off. The German outfit almost created an opening in the first minute, when Gotze slipped an intelligent pass to Lewandowski, but Wojciech Szczesny came out quickly to collect the ball in his box.

Around the half-hour, Klopp’s side then faced two significant setbacks in quick succession. Sven Bender was carried off on a stretcher following a collision with Thomas Vermaelen, which resulted in midfielder lying prone and needing attention to his head.

Misery then mounted for the Bundesliga champions as Gotze came off after failing to recover from a knock he picked up earlier on in the half. Moritz Leitner and Ivan Perisic were the two substitutions utilised.

But it was the German charges who created the first promising chance after the whistle: Shinji Kagawa and Lewandowski exchanged passes on the edge of the box before Kagawa had his shot blocked by Szczesny from a tight angle.

Yet Arsenal proved more clinical with their first real opportunity of the half. Four minutes after the break, the effervescent Van Persie continued his excellent goalscoring form with the opener.

Alex Song showed great skill on the left flank, tricking his way past three Dortmund defenders and crossing a perfect ball to Van Persie, who headed into the bottom right.

Minutes later, the Gunners squandered the opportunity to extend their lead. Ramsey poked a through ball to Gervinho, who found himself free in front of goal with only the keeper to beat. However the Ivorian, looking to take the ball past the keeper, was tackled by Mats Hummels at the last second.

Arsenal’s work rate allowed them to dominate large portions of the second half with Ramsey and Song permeating the midfield, as Dortmund struggled to get back into the game.

And their talisman Van Persie wrapped up victory for the home team on the 86th minute after an Arteta corner was flicked on by Vermaelen, allowing the Dutchman to smash the ball home from two yards.

The hosts looked as if they could finish the game with comfort, but a last-minute goal from Shinji Kagawa made for nervous final moments. Lewandowski received a ball from a corner and fed the ball to the midfielder, who finished from close range.

Dortmund's chances of reaching the next stages now hang by a thread; they will be required to defeat Marseille convincingly in their final match, and hope Arsenal, who are already through, can defeat Olympiakos in Greece.

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