Petr Čech told UEFA.com Arsenal were "back in the game" after a 2-0 victory against Bayern München rekindled their hopes of reaching the knockout stage from Group F.
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"We're back in the game," declared Petr Čech after a 2-0 victory against Bayern München put Arsenal back in contention in UEFA Champions League Group F.
After losing their opening two games in the section, the Gunners kicked off against Bayern knowing defeat would virtually end their hopes of reaching the group stage. Their nerve held and a disciplined, patient performance was rewarded when Olivier Giroud and Mesut Özil scored late on to earn a memorable victory against a side that had won their previous 12 matches.
"The key was to keep the discipline and to be organised," Čech told UEFA.com. "[Bayern] played really well. They came full of confidence and they controlled the game by having a good possession and opened spaces and were patient with the ball. You need to make sure that you are organised, that you are disciplined and you work as a unit – as one man – and I think we did very well."
When Bayern did break through Arsenal's rearguard, Čech stood tall. Bayern had eight attempts on target, and Čech was equal to them all, notably making brilliant stops from Thiago Alcántara and Robert Lewandowski in each half. "They were two key moments because obviously if Thiago scores early in the game then they would have had control … so it was a very important save at the start," the 33-year-old said.
"I'm obviously glad that I made the save against Lewandowksi because in that moment we could have been 1-0 down and instead in a few minutes we were 1-0 up and had basically decided the game. This game went up and down, there were chances and shots and it was very entertaining. It looked like one goal might decide it so we are glad that that we were the team that scored it."
It was something of a goalkeeping duel, with Manuel Neuer also making some terrific saves at the other end, particularly when somehow clawing out Theo Walcott's header at full stretch 12 minutes before half-time. "I thought we had scored," said Čech, who was playing in his first UEFA Champions League match for Arsenal. "I saw the header and I thought it was in and suddenly the ball bounced back and it was an unbelievable save. He kept them in the game."
Arsenal still prop up Group F after three matches, but with just three points separating all four sides, there is everything to play for. "We are obviously very pleased with the three points because they were crucial for us," Čech noted. "We are back in the game but our position hasn't changed much because Olympiacos won away [against Dinamo Zagreb] and now they have the home advantage in the next leg. We go to Munich knowing we can compete with them and we are positive that we can have another game where we can get points. It's been a great night tonight – let's see what happens in the future."