DAVID SMITH - Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Jermaine Jones and Schalke finally broke Germany's Champions League jinx on English soil while Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjaelland did fine work to hold Juventus to a draw in Denmark.
FC Nordsjaelland 1 - 1 Juventus
Michael Parkhurst went the distance at right back for Nordsjaelland on Tuesday night, with the team earning a hard-fought draw against reigning Italian champions Juventus.
The Italians created most of the first-half chances, although with no real result to show for their efforts, and were put on the back foot shortly after the halftime break thanks to a moment of brilliance by Mikkel Beckmann.
Giorgio Chiellini was shown yellow in the 49th minute for a reckless foul on Kaspar Lorentzen, setting up a 25-yard free kick from straight ahead for the hosts. Beckmann struck his shot perfectly, looping it over the wall and just inside the upper right corner, leaving legendary keeper Gianluigi Buffon utterly no chance for the save.
Facing the prospect of reaching the halfway point of the group stage with just two points and in last place, The Old Lady piled on the pressure and were finally able to net the equalizer nine minutes from full time.
Mauricio Isla received a pass from Andrea Pirlo on the right flank, and angled a low cross through the six-yard box. Substitute Mirko Vucinic stormed into position and one-timed his shot inside the right upright to earn the point.
Nordsjaelland are still at the bottom of Group E after half of the games played. With one point from three games, they trail the still-winless Italians by two points, are three off the pace of Chelsea, and six behind group leaders Shakhtar Donetsk.
They will once again face Juventus in two weeks in Italy, although have a busy schedule before, with a league encounter on Friday against Aalborg followed five days later by a Danish Cup game against Mitjylland.
Arsenal FC 0 - 2 FC Schalke 04
Jermaine Jones was a halftime substitute for Schalke, and made the most of his 45 minutes on the field in helping them ride a second-half surge to a historic victory over Arsenal in the Emirates Stadium.
After a fine performance on the weekend by his main midfield competition Marco Höger, Jones began the game on the bench, however made a case for a return to the starting eleven with a fine performance in the second half.
Arsenal were largely toothless before the break, giving the Königsblauen an increasing confidence that they just might be able to snap the long streak of German clubs failing to win on English soil in the Champions League - a run which stretched back to April 2001.
Höger perhaps forced Huub Stevens' hand to make the switch with Jones at the half after he picked up a yellow card in the 39th minute, and the Germans remained dominant after the break.
They finally got the much-deserved breakthrough in the 76th minute after a poorly-cleared corner by the hosts. Ibrahim Afellay headed a high clearance down and forward into the path of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who made it look easy with a low shot to the center of goal.
Then four minutes from full time, Jones triggered the insurance goal for the visitors. The American broke free on the right side and stormed up the field, then found Jefferson Farfan with a pass into the flank. The Peruvian star found Afellay at the far post with a low cross, which the Dutch winger put away with ease for the 2-0 win.
Schalke now top Group B, with their seven points putting them one ahead of the Gunners and four in front of third-place Olympiakos. They will host Arsenal in two weeks, however have a busy schedule beforehand, with friendly rivals Nürnberg visiting the Veltins Arena on Saturday.
Oguchi Onyewu finally made his competitive debut for Malaga, coming on the field in the final seconds of second-half injury time in their 1-0 win at home over Italian team AC Milan. The Spaniards remain on a complete tear in Group C, with nine points, a five-point lead over second-place Milan, and a commanding 7-0 goal differential through three games.
Having seen his role with Anderlecht greatly diminished this season, Sacha Kljestan continued to warm the bench, as he was an unused substitute in the team's 1-0 loss at Zenit St. Petersburg on Wednesday.