SAN JOSE, Calif., Sporting Alert – Chuba Akpom scored a deciding goal three minutes from time and Arsenal beat the MLS All-Stars 2-1 in the USA Major League Soccer All-Star Game at Avaya Stadium in San Jose on Thursday night.
Akpom netted the winner for the English Premier League side in the 87th minute from close range, following a delightful cross from the left side by full-back Nacho Monreal.
Arsenal had taken the lead in the 11th minute when striker Joel Campbell scored on a penalty kick after a defensive mix-up between defender Laurent Ciman goalkeeper Andre Blake.
The pair connections went on the wrong path and it resulted in Blake getting caught out of position and Ciman bringing down Campbell.
The Arsenal forward, after a few slow mini trots, coolly converted the spot-kick with his left-footed shot to the left of a diving Blake.
Blake made up for the error with a few saves to keep the MLS All-Stars in the game and then Didier Drogba struck.
The former Chelsea forward poked home the game’s equalising goal past his former clubmate Petr Cech on his third attempt, after the first was blocked by Cech and then by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Drogba’s goal was converted in the second minute of stoppage time and although he casually jogged off quietly after scoring, his goal was well celebrated by his MLS All-Stars teammates, including playmaker Kaka, and especially forward Giovani dos Santos, who jumped on his back afterward.
But with three-minutes left and the MLS All-Stars missing a number of chances, Arsenal snatched the winner through Akpom, who finished off the over-lapping run of Monreal with a close-range prod.
“The goal that I score and we lose, it doesn’t count. … It’s a bit disappointing for me,” said Drogba a disappointed. “Once again, I hate losing.”
Victory for the Gunners ended the two-game winning streak of the MLS All-Stars, who had beaten Tottenham and Bayern Munich in the last two editions.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was happy to collect the win, but was also delighted for his young players.
“It’s a good opportunity to see many young players that we educate and that was positive,” he said.
He added about the overall performance: “In my team I believe what is important for us is in this kind of game is to analyze what aspect of our game we do well.
“I felt that in the first half we had a good balance between keeping possession and going very quickly on transition in behind, and we had good penetrating runs in the final third.”