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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE - Group B: Arsenal held by Schalke after two-goal lead

Arsenal have been pegged back by Schalke to be held to a 2-2 Champions League draw at the Veltins-Arena tonight.

The Gunners led 2-0 after 26 minutes following goals from Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud but the Germans were able to get one back late in the first half through Klaas-Jan Huntelaar before Jefferson Farfan levelled with just over 20 minutes remaining.

A suicidal back header from Jermaine Jones fell into the path of Giroud in the 18th minute who was well-tackled by Benedikt Howedes before Walcott intervened to flick the ball over goalkeeper Lars Unnerstall and then was able to take a couple more touches to slot home from close range for the opener and his 50th goal for the club.

Arsenal's lead was soon doubled when Lukas Podolski produced a brilliant cross from the left after some good lead-up work to see Giroud net his first Champions League goal with a diving header form inside the six-yard box.

Schalke were getting frustrated after going two goals down but managed to pull one back in stoppage time of the first half when Huntelaar, who scored in the 2-0 win over the Gunners a fortnight ago, received a pass from Lewis Holtby before firing in customary fashion past Vito Mannone.

Schalke had increased their output in the second half and managed to equalise in the 67th minute when Farfan got on the end of Holtby's scuffed header which came from a leftwing cross to see his low effort knocked into the back of the net from a desperate Thomas Vermaelen on the goal-line.

Mannone came up with a quality save to deny Huntelaar one-on-one early in the second half a few minutes before Schalke had huge calls for a penalty when the ball rocketed into the arm of Per Mertesacker but referee Nicola Rizzoli waved away the protests.

Holtby tested Mannone with a long range, swerving effort after the hour-mark prior to Farfan's leveller before Walcott almost grabbed a second in the 74th minute but was denied by the far upright although he had been flagged for being offside.

Walcott could only manage to hit the legs of Unnerstall when he got clear in injury-time as both sides had to settle for a share of the points which sees Group B very open in regards to progressing to the knockout phase.

Arsene Wenger's Arsenal sit second on 7 points behind Huub Stevens' Schalke who have recorded 8 whilst Greek club Olympiakos are third on 6 points after ending Montpellier's campaign with a 3-1 result in Athens.

The Gunners next meet Montpellier at the Emirates Stadium on November 21 as Schalke prepare to host Olympiakos on the same date in what are two very vital fixtures for three of the four clubs involved.

UEFA Champions League - Group B

Schalke 04 (GER): 2 (Klaas-Jan Huntelaar 45+2', Jefferson Farfan 67') Arsenal (ENG): 2 (Theo Walcott 18', Olivier Giroud 26')

Veltins-Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Germany

Yellow cards:SCH - Joel Matip 25', Christian Fuchs 41', Jermaine Jones 77' ARS - Santi Cazorla 21', Lukas Podolski 62'

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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