BRUSSELS, Belgium (Sporting Alert) — Arsenal scored two late goals to secure a dramatic late turnaround 2-1 victory over Anderlecht in the Champions League in Brussels on Wednesday night.
Defender Kieran Gibbs and forward Lukas Podolski netted in the final minutes of the contest to seal the win for the English Premier League side in a Group D clash at Constant Vanden Stock Stadium.
Andy Najar had given Anderlecht a 71st minute lead and the home side looked well on its way to picking up three points before Gibbs equalized with one minute of regulation time left and substitute Podolski found the late winner from close range, one minute into stoppage time.
“It’s a nice end to a game. We played against an Anderlecht team that played very well,” Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said after the game.
He added about the late goals: “I know by experience that the last five minutes in the Champions League – the nerves play a part.
“We had to get into these five minutes without conceding the second goal. Of course, if they had scored the second goal, it was game over. I had hope. It didn’t look like it but it happened and that means we took all the risks and in the end, it paid off.
“It’s a little bit of a gambling situation that happens in this kind of games and it worked tonight. It did not look obvious, that is for sure.”
Podolski has been linked with a move away from the London club in the January window, but Wenger believes the German forward is still an important part of his plans.
“We know Podolski can always score. He is frustrated and I understand that of course,” the boss said. “But he’s important as well and he showed that tonight and he will be important in the coming months.
“It took him a while to get back to a good physical level [after the World Cup] and now he’s nearly there.”