MLS All-Star Game: Arsenal prevails with late tally

Written By Tom Gatto
MLS-Arsenal-072916-Getty-FTR.jpg
(Getty Images)

Substitute Chuba Akpom netted a late match-winner as Arsenal saw off the MLS All-Stars 2-1 in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday.

Akpom came off the bench past the hour mark and he proved to be the difference, scoring from close range with three minutes remaining after big-money recruit Granit Xhaka made his debut for the Premier League giants at Avaya Stadium.

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The score was level at halftime following Didier Drogba's equalizer for Kaka and Co., canceling out Joel Campbell's 11th-minute penalty.

The result ended the All-Stars' run of consecutive wins against European opposition, having upstaged Tottenham last year and Bayern Munich in 2014.

Arsenal settled quickest of the two teams, unsurprising given the lack of cohesion and understanding between the All-Stars.

And while Giovani dos Santos forced Petr Cech into an early save, Arsenal took advantage of a disjointed back four, with Campbell stepping up to convert from the spot.

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The Costa Rica international lobbed the ball over onrushing goalkeeper Andre Blake and was brought down by Laurent Ciman, before channellng his inner Simone Zaza as he shuffled toward the ball in a stuttered run-up and fired into the bottom corner of the net.

Mohamed Elneny almost doubled Arsenal's lead, forcing Blake into a fine fingertip save approaching the half-hour mark, which eventually saw the withdrawal of All-Star pair Andrea Pirlo and David Villa due to New York City FC's match against Colorado on Saturday.

Kaka and his All-Stars, however, did manage to draw level thanks to Drogba on the stroke of halftime.

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After receiving a through ball from Dos Santos, Drogba bundled the ball into the back of the net after his initial shot was saved by Cech and blocked on the line.

Xhaka came off the bench at halftime to make his debut for the Londoners, the Switzerland international looking composed on the ball in midfield, forcing David Bingham into two saves.

All-Star substitutes Cyle Larin and Chris Wondolowski almost combined for the winner in the 82nd minute, but Arsenal snatched the victory three minutes from time via Akpom.

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