Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has complained about his side's lack of sharpness after a disappointing start to their UEFA Champions League campaign. Wenger's side were fortunate to escape from the Ukraine with a 1-1 draw against Dynamo Kiev in their Group G opener on Wednesday.
The Gunners were facing a fourth defeat in four visits to this part of Eastern Europe when Ismael Bangoura stroked home a second-half penalty at the Valeri Lobanovsky Stadium. But Arsenal captain William Gallas salvaged a point when he tapped-in Theo Walcott's cross with two minutes to play.
It was the most Arsenal deserved after a spluttering display against opponents who had gone four years without a win in Europe's elite club competition. They wasted a series of chances in the first half, and allowed Dynamo to take over after the break.
Wenger knows better opposition would have made them pay a heavier price for those misses. "," Wenger said. "I feel a mixture of disappointment and relief. When you are 1-0 down with two minutes to go, you are happy not to have lost, but we had the early chances in the game and didn't take them."
With a testing fixture against early group leaders Porto to come at the Emirates Stadium in two weeks, the one consolation for Wenger was the way his side refused to accept defeat. "At least we found the resources to come back to 1-1. That is a positive sign because we gave absolutely everything," he said. "Maybe it will be a good point. Now we play Porto at home and we know we are strong at home, so let's win our home games."
It had looked so different in the early stages as Arsenal, boosted by three successive wins, took the game to Dynamo. Walcott's astute pass slipped in Robin van Persie, and it took a smart save by Dynamo keeper Stanislav Bogush to deny him.
Emmanuel Adebayor should have put Arsenal ahead in the 19th minute when he pounced on careless Dynamo defending, but the Togo striker showed none of the poise that earned him a hat-trick at Blackburn as he curled his shot wide with only Bogush to beat.
Van Persie blasted into the side-netting from Sagna's cross, then Cesc Fabregas had an even better chance when he shot straight at Bogush from six yards.
Dynamo upped their tempo to dramatic effect after half-time, and Roman Eremanko skipped past Gallas and smashed his shot against a post before Manuel Almunia smothered the loose ball.
The hosts took the lead in the 64th minute. Sagna tussled with Ognjen Vukojevic and Bangoura stepped up to calmly send Almunia the wrong way from the spot. But in the 88th minute Walcott drove in a low cross that evaded the entire Dynamo defence and reached Gallas, who tapped in at the far post.