Arsenal 0 Bayern Munich 2: Arjen Robben denies diving to get Wojciech Szczesny sent-off and relates his defence to that of a 'cornered dog'
Robben was targeted by Arsenal fans after the incident which won Bayern a penalty but the Dutchman feels it was a stonewall penalty
Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben has claimed that Arsenal fans have turned him into a “cornered dog” after he denied allegations of diving to win the penalty that saw goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny sent-off during Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 encounter.
Robben was regularly booed by the home crowd following the incident – not helped by his history as a Chelsea player – and was criticised for the ease with which he went down by the Gunners’ manager Arsene Wenger shortly after the match.
The Dutchman believes that it was a stonewall penalty which was also the “turning point of the game” though the 30-year-old did question whether Szczesny should have been dismissed for the challenge.
“There's no discussion about the penalty,” stressed Robben. “In football it goes like that, suddenly I was the fans' target and the cornered dog.
“But I couldn't help it. It was a brilliant attack with Toni Kroos. He chipped the ball over the defence and I was faster than the goalkeeper. I wanted to control the ball, but the only thing I still remember is a ‘bang’ against my leg and me lying on the ground. Of course it was a foul.
“It was a clear penalty, although the red card was perhaps debatable. I never saw the ball again after he hit me. It was the turning point of the game.”
Robben also wanted to clarify rumours on social media that alleged the former Real Madrid midfielder spat at Arsenal right-back Bacary Sagna, something he strenuously denied and offered a clear explanation for.
“Let me make it clear that I did not spit,” he said. “I would not do that in my life. If I would ever do such a thing, they can then instantly send me off and suspended me for 10 games.
“I do not have much hair on my head. Sweat dripped down. If I ever spit at an opponent, I do not have to come home.”
The Gunners were spurred on by a home crowd that is rarely so vocal in their support of the team, and they looked inspired in the first 15 minutes as they took the fight to the reigning Champions League holders.
It is something that Robben recognised, and feels is a clear reason why the German league leaders cannot let complacency creep into their game when they play the second leg at the Allianz Arena in Munich on March 11.
“Arsenal were much better than us early on and overran us in the opening 15 minutes,” admitted Robben. “Fortunately, Manuel (Neuer) saved their penalty. We improved after that.
“We are not there yet, though. We have a lot of respect for Arsenal. They are a great team. They showed us in the opening 15 minutes what they can do.”
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