Alexis Sanchez salvaged a point for Arsenal from their limp Champions League opener at Paris St-Germain. Edinson Cavani glanced PSG ahead after 42 seconds and should have had a hat-trick before half-time, firing wide after rounding David Ospina before slipping to fluff a simple finish. Sanchez rifled in the rebound from Arsenal’s first shot on target. Alex Iwobi might have had a late Arsenal winner before Olivier Giroud and PSG’s Marco Verratti were sent off.
Substitute Giroud was brought on to enliven a tame attacking display and picked up two yellow cards in his 27 minutes, the second for an altercation in which Italian midfielder Verratti also picked up a second yellow. The Gunners were often exposed by the pace of Cavani, Angel di Maria and Serge Aurier and relied on their Colombian goalkeeper Ospina – preferred to Petr Cech – to keep them in it. Iwobi’s low shot was tipped away by Alphonse Areola after Sanchez’s equaliser, while PSG would have had a 94th-minute winner had defender Marquinhos not wastefully headed wide from close range.
Anything more than a point for Arsenal would have been harsh on PSG, who outperformed their Premier League opponents but failed to take their chances. Arsenal produced some slick interplay in front of goal but failed to produce many dangerous moments and looked shaky at the back. By the time Sanchez brought them level by firing home after Iwobi’s shot was parried out, they could easily have been two or three behind. Cech was dropped for Ospina in Arsenal’s first two Champions League games last season but was reinstated after the Colombian scored an own goal from a corner in a 3-2 home defeat by Olympiakos. In the first half Ospina made a brilliant recovery to tip over as Angel di Maria’s corner momentarily threatened a repeat of that calamitous moment, but he had little chance of stopping Cavani’s deft, glancing header.