London - Borussia Dortmund failed to clinch top spot in UEFA Champions League Group D with a game to spare as they dropped points for the first time in Europe this season courtesy of a 2-0 loss to Arsenal FC.

Needing just a point to secure their position at the group’s summit, Dortmund conceded the fastest goal in their top-table history through Yaya Sanogo’s first-ever strike for the Gunners. Alexis Sanchez added a second soon after the break as the visitors suffered a first European defeat of 2014/15.

Ready, steady, Sanogo


Dortmund’s pre-match training session at Regent’s Park appeared to have done little help, as the travelling side got off to the worst possible start at the Emirates Stadium. Sanogo demonstrated great strength, before playing a neat one-two with Santi Cazorla and slotting the ball between the legs of Roman Weidenfeller to put Arsenal ahead with just 73 seconds on the clock.

Only posing a sporadic threat on the counter, BVB struggled to weather the early Arsenal storm and could have been further behind had Sanogo showed greater composure ten minutes in. The pace of proceedings was breathtaking, but it was the hosts who continued to set the tone as they went about probing Dortmund’s unsettled backline, whilst getting men behind the ball once they had conceded possession.

Swings and roundabouts


In the rare moments that space did present itself, Jürgen Klopp’s charges wasted little time in wreaking havoc as Ciro Immobile went within a stud’s width of poking home Lukasz Piszczek’s devilish delivery. With the impetus now on their side, Dortmund appeared intent to strike before the break, but while Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s close-range snapshot drew a sharp save out of Emiliano Martinez, a first-half equaliser was not forthcoming.

Having failed to score in the first half of a UEFA Champions League fixture for the first time this season, the visitors came out of the changing rooms with real purpose, as Mkhitaryan again stung the palms of Arsenal’s Argentinian goalkeeper. However, the hosts responded in kind as Weidenfeller was forced to produce a strong one-handed save to claw Sanchez’s effort away danger.

Sanchez settles the score


Chances continued to present themselves at either end, but those of a more clear-cut variety were falling for the hosts and, after Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain’s dipping volley came back off the bar, Sanchez cut inside Piszczek to curl an unstoppable effort beyond Weidenfeller and into the bottom corner shortly before the hour-mark.

The two-goal cushion allowed Arsenal to sit back and absorb pressure, leading to Klopp throwing Shinji Kagawa and Adrian Ramos into the mix. With his side now forced to create the play, the changes did little to effect their performance as Dortmund struggled to break down the Gunners' backline, ultimately limping to a disappointing defeat that nonetheless leaves them two points clear at the top of Group D.

Line-ups:

Arsenal: Martinez - Gibbs, Mertesacker, Chambers, Monreal - Arteta (Flamini 67'), Ramsay - Oxlade-Chamberlain (Campbell 90'), Santi Cazorla, Alexis Sanchez - Sanogo (Podolski 79')

Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Subotic, Ginter, Schmelzer - Gündogan, Bender - Großkreutz (Jojic 78'), Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang (Kagawa 61') - Immobile (Ramos 61')

Goals: 1-0 Sanogo (2'), 2-0 Sanchez (57')