Ivan Perišić denied Arsenal FC the boost of an opening-day win as his superb late volley salvaged Borussia Dortmund a 1-1 draw in the tussle of the wounded giants in Group F.
The shadow of indifferent league form hung over both teams in western Germany, and though it was the Bundesliga champions who built the first-half momentum, Robin van Persie leapt on a lapse at the back and produced a fine finish against the run of play close to the interval. His goal helped the Gunners settle after the break, but just as it seemed they would hold on substitute Perišić pounced.
With the home fans greeting kick-off with a wall of noise, there was a vibrancy about the occasion from the start that quickly infected the players. Both sides began with zip and purpose and both wrought early chances, with Mats Hummels just about dispossessing Gervinho in front of the Dortmund goal before Kevin Grosskreutz blasted over at the other end.
The same fate befell Shinji Kagawa moments later, but the hosts were soon back again as Mario Götze freed Robert Lewandowski to skip past Poland team-mate Wojciech Szczęsny and force Bacary Sagna to block on the line. Arsenal were on the rack suddenly, with Götze pulling the levers; yet they survived that flurry and threatened again shortly after the half-hour when Van Persie had a shot palmed wide following an instinctive Yossi Benayoun pass.
Dortmund's response came in the form of a Lewandowski header clutched gratefully by Szczęsny, but any sense that Jürgen Klopp's men would ramp up the pressure again was extinguished when Van Persie was allowed to poke the ball away from Sebastian Kehl to Theo Walcott deep in Dortmund territory. He thundered a shot beyond Roman Weidenfeller after accepting the return pass.
Arsène Wenger could not have hoped for a better end to the half as he served the first instalment of his two-game touchline ban in the stands, and his team came out looking more composed after the break. Able to stifle most of their opponents' advances, they nearly doubled their advantage when Gervinho wriggled free and fired straight at Weidenfeller.
Some last-ditch tackling served Wenger's men well on occasion too, with Alex Song halting a slaloming Götze run, but Dortmund never gave up hope. They produced a fantastic equaliser, Perišić burying a left-footed volley high into the far corner after Per Mertesacker had cleared a free-kick. Arsenal were grateful to emerge with a point, in fact, as Szczęsny denied Lewandowski in added time.
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.