Arsenal 2 Napoli 2: Giroud and Koscielny strike late for Gunners

Arsenal 2 Napoli 2: Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny score second-half goals to help Gunners fight back against Serie A side

Arsenal
2
Napoli
2

Late goals from Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny spared Arsenal’s blushes as the Gunners fought back from 2-0 down to draw their Emirates Cup opener against Napoli.

Giroud’s stunning overhead kick halved the home side’s deficit in the 72nd minute, before Koscielny nodded home four minutes from time to earn a draw at Emirates Stadium.

First-half goals from Lorenzo Insigne and Goran Pandev had given Napoli a 2-0 lead at half-time but a battling Arsenal refused to be beaten in front of their home fans.

Insigne gave the Serie A side the lead in the seventh minute after Carl Jenkinson failed to deal with looping ball over his shoulder, leaving the striker to volley a quality finish past Lukasz Fabianski.

Arsenal’s first attempt on goal came when Pepe Reina, who joined Napoli on loan from Liverpool last month, was almost caught out by Serge Gnabry’s lobbed effort – but the shot dropped onto the roof of the net much to the Spaniard’s relief.

Lukas Podolski then spurned a brilliant chance to pull home side level when his low-struck penalty was saved by Reina after Valon Behrami had fouled Gnabry in the box.

Napoli were looking confident and the visitors doubled their advantage in the 28th minute when Marek Hamsik fed Pandev, who rounded the on-rushing Fabianski and curled a finish into the top-left corner of the empty net.

Podolski then had another glorious opportunity to pull one back but his shot was deflected just wide, before Per Mertesacker’s header was saved by Reina as Napoli went in 2-0 up at the break.

Arsene Wenger introduced Theo Walcott early in the second half in an attempt to give his side a fresh attacking edge, with Gnabry the player to make way. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mikel Arteta and Bacary Sagna were all also thrown into the fray by the Frenchman.

Gonzalo Higuaín, who was reportedly close to joining the Gunners before signing for Napoli last month, was a second-half substitute but made little impact in north London.

As Arsenal poured forward, Giroud pulled one back for the home side when he beat Reina with a brilliant overhead kick direct from Walcott’s corner.

The goal injected some purpose back into Arsenal’s attacks, and Giroud came close to adding a second when Reina parried away the Frenchman header moments after his first strike.

Koscielny, the hero on the final day of last season when his winner helped the Gunners seal the vital 1-0 win at Newcastle to book Arsenal’s place in this season’s Champions League, then followed up Mertesacker’s header and nodded into the bottom corner to secure a draw for Wenger’s men.

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