FC Bayern Munich were denied a win in the opening match of their International Champions Cup campaign against Arsenal in Shanghai after a 3-2 defeat on penalties. Last season’s top scorer Robert Lewandowski had scored the only goal of the game until Alex Iwobi's header in the 94th minute took the match to a shootout.
New boys given chance to shine in Shanghai
Coach Carlo Ancelotti sent out an almost full-strength side for the first match of the 2017 Audi Summer Tour to Asia. New signings James Rodriguez and Corentin Tolisso were both given the chance to shine from the start in Shanghai. Robert Lewandowski led the line in front of the fluid attacking trio of James, Thomas Müller and Franck Ribery. Tolisso partnered Javi Martinez in central midfield.
In defence, the Reds deployed the experienced back four of Rafinha, Mats Hummels, David Alaba and Juan Bernat. With Manuel Neuer still back in Munich recovering from his broken foot, the recently retired Tom Starke began the game in goal ahead of youngster Christian Früchtl.
Lewy gives the lead, Cech keeps it at one
Both sides had early sights of goal in the opening ten minutes of this pre-season friendly. James was the first to threaten with a volley at the far post, which he pulled narrowly wide after fine set-up play from the experienced Franck Ribery down the left. Arsenal were quick to look for a reply of their own as Granit Xhaka blasted over from the edge of the box and Mesut Özil forced veteran Starke into a fine save with a volley from 10 yards. It did not take long, however, for the Bundesliga champions to break the deadlock in China after Bernat was brought down in the box and Lewandowski sent Arsenal ‘keeper Petr Cech the wrong way from the spot with less than ten minutes on the clock.
It should have been two to Bayern on 20 minutes as Tolisso slotted home what he thought was his first goal in FCB colours after a knockdown from Müller, but the linesman’s flag was (incorrectly) raised for offside to deny the young Frenchman. Starke was later called into action again to brilliantly deny Arsenal’s new striker Alexandre Lacazette, but it was the Gunners’ veteran keeper Cech with the most work to do at the other end as a string of top saves denied Müller, Ribery and James within the space of a few minutes at the end of the opening 45 minutes.
Youngsters hold their own on international stage
Ancelotti instilled further youth into the Bayern side at half-time with the introduction of Renato Sanches and Kingsley Coman for Müller and Martinez, respectively, whilst Früchtl was between the posts in place of Starke. The substitutions seemed to have no change on the flow of the play, however, as Bayern continued to pepper the Arsenal goal in the early stages of the second half but Cech held firm.
Whilst Coman remained a threat to the Arsenal defence, constant changes from both sides and the 33-degree heat in Shanghai saw the intensity of the game drop as the second half wore on. The game looked to be petering out to a comfortable 1-0 victory until Iwobi powered a header past Früchtl in the 94th minute to take the match to a penalty shootout.
Alaba stepped up first but has his spot-kick saved by substitute Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez. Aaron Ramsey and Hummels both scored their subsequent penalties before Früchtl's excellent save to deny Elneny. Coman and Nacho Monreal scored the next set of spot-kicks but Renato Sanches hit the bar with Bayern's fourth effort before Iwobi made it advantage Arsenal. Juan Bernat stepped up knowing he had to score to keep the game alive, but Martinez again saved down to his left to give Arsenal an unlikely victory.
The record German champions are in action once again on Saturday for the second International Champions Cup fixture against Italian side AC Milan. The game in Shenzhen, China kicks off at 11:30 CEST.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Charlie Mason
FC Bayern line-up: Starke (Früchtl 46) – Rafinha (Götze 75), Hummels, Alaba, Bernat – Martinez (Sanches 46), Tolisso (Dorsch 75) – James (Pantovic 65), Müller (Coman 46), Ribery (Friedl 75) - Lewandowski (Winzheimer 65)
Goals: 0-1 Lewandowski (9’ pen), 1-1 Iwobi (90+4')