Germany’s goalkeeper Manuel Neuer put his hand up for the mistake which sparked Bayern Munich’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal which breathed life back into the Gunners’ Champions League hopes.
Olivier Giroud came off the bench to score Arsenal’s opener on Tuesday after Neuer made a hash of dealing with a free-kick with 13 minutes left at the Emirates Stadium.
There had been a slight suspicion of handball for the goal, but the Gunners’ Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil then added the killer second with virtually the last kick.
Despite being on the back foot for long periods, Arsene Wenger’s side gratefully accepted Neuer’s gift after consecutive Group F defeats had left them on the verge of elimination.
“Unfortunately, I made an error so Arsenal took the lead,” admitted Neuer,
“I don’t care whether it was a handball by Giroud or not, I know I made the mistake. But life goes on.
“We played quite well, a draw would have been deserved.”
Guardiola refused to pin the blame for defeat on his goalkeeper — “we didn’t lose because of Neuer” — but captain Philipp Lahm admitted it was a bitter defeat.
“For the most part we controlled the match well,” said the ex-Germany captain.
“If our build-up play is good our opponents can hardly press – and that’s what happened here.
“We had some problems before the break because we were too aggressive.
“The defeat is very, very bitter. We had great chances against a very, very good team, but at the decisive moments we didn’t score.”
The defeat was Bayern’s first of the season, after 12 straight wins, and tightens things up in the Group F table.
Guardiola’s Bavarians remain top by virtue of goal difference from Olympiakos, who enjoyed a 1-0 win at beat Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday.
Third-placed Arsenal still have little margin for error ahead of their trip to Munich in a fortnight, but they can still make the knockout stages for a 16th successive year.