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Paris Saint-Germain (PSG)’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic (left) kicks the ball near Josip Pivaric of GNK Dinamo Zagreb during their UEFA Champions league group A match in Zagreb, yesterday. PSG won 2-0.
LONDON: Schalke piled on the misery for Arsenal as the German side struck twice in the closing stages to clinch a shock 2-0 win in yesterday’s Champions League clash at the Emirates Stadium.
Dutch duo Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Ibrahim Afellay netted in the final 14 minutes to deal another significant blow to Arsene Wenger’s team just days after they crashed to a dismal 1-0 defeat at Premier League strugglers Norwich.
Wenger could have few complaints about the result as Arsenal paid the price for a lacklustre display that saw them out-fought and out-thought for long periods.
The Gunners’ 100 percent record in Group B was shattered in emphatic fashion and they are now behind Schalke in second place, with tricky trips to the German club and Olympiakos among their remaining three fixtures as they try to edge into the last 16.
To make matters worse for Wenger, he is due to attend the club’s annual general meeting on Thursday, with already angry shareholders likely to make their feelings known.
France striker Olivier Giroud, replaced by midfielder Francis Coquelin, was the only casualty from the Norwich embarrassment as Wenger opted against making wholesale changes and gave his flops a chance to make amends.
How he must have rued that decision after his side were booed off.
Watching from the Arsenal directors’ box as he completed his three-match European touchline ban, Wenger cut an anxious figure as Schalke opened up with some slick approach play.
Meanwhile, the prospect of a second successive group-stage exit in the Champions League is staring Manchester City in the face after a 3-1 defeat at Ajax yesterday left them rock bottom of Group D.
The English champions were looking for their first win of the campaign, but despite taking the lead against the run of play through Samir Nasri, they fell to goals from Siem de Jong, Niklas Moisander and Christian Eriksen in Amsterdam.
The visitors finished the game with Edin Dzeko, Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli all on the pitch, but by the full-time whistle they found themselves looking down the barrel of another autumn elimination.
Ajax move into third place after claiming a first home win over English opposition since 1980, leaving City bottom of the pool with a solitary point to their name after three games.
Matters were compounded by Borussia Dortmund’s 2-1 win at home to Real Madrid in the other game. City now trail Dortmund by six points, Madrid by five points, and Ajax by two, and may need to win all three remaining games -- starting with the return fixture against Ajax on November 7 -- to stand any chance of going through.
In Zagreb, Paris St Germain stayed on course to reach the Champions League last 16 after first-half goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jeremy Menez secured a 2-0 win at Croatian title holders Dinamo Zagreb yesterday.
PSG dominated from start to finish and should have won by a bigger margin, but for some wasteful finishing by Ibrahimovic who missed two great chances before he broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute with a crisp shot into the far corner.
Midfielder Menez broke down the left and weaved his way past two defenders before squaring the ball back into the heart of the penalty box for the Swedish striker to slide in and beat goalkeeper Ivan Kelava.
Menez made it 2-0 shortly before halftime, taking a Javier Pastore pass into his stride before he rifled a low drive between Kelava’s legs on a grim evening for Dinamo
Playing at home, debutants Malaga stunned seven-time winners AC Milan when Joaquin made up for missing a penalty with the winner in a memorable 1-0 Group C victory yesterday.
After Kevin Constant had brought down Jesus Gamez on the edge of the area, former Spain winger Joaquin drove his 44th-minute spot kick high towards goal but it skimmed the top of the crossbar and flew into the crowd.
However, he made no mistake in the 64th minute when played through by Manuel Iturra and his low shot beat Milan goalkeeper Marco Amelia and went in off the post to give Malaga an impressive three wins out of three.