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Bandaged heroics: Martin Skrtel stuns Arsenal with late equalizer

updated 2:19 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
Martin Skrtel celebrates his dramatic late equalizer for Liverpool against Arsenal at Anfield.
Martin Skrtel celebrates his dramatic late equalizer for Liverpool against Arsenal at Anfield.
  • 10-man Liverpool salvages late 2-2 draw with Arsenal
  • Goals from Mathieu Debuchy and Olivier Giroud put Arsenal 2-1 up
  • Martin Skrtel heads injury equalizer at Anfield
  • Sunderland beats Newcastle 1-0 in north-east derby

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(CNN) -- Sporting a head bandage after a painful earlier clash it just had to be Martin Skrtel to perform injury time heroics to salvage a vital 2-2 draw for Liverpool against Arsenal Sunday.

Slovakian international defender Skrtel bravely powered a bullet header from an Adam Lallana corner into the visiting net with his team down to 10 men.

Referee Michael Oliver had added nine minutes of extra time -- ironically most of it as a result of the injury suffered by Skrtel after being accidentally caught by the studs of Olivier Giroud.

Looking a little dazed, he looked set to be substituted but instead was patched up with the bandage and carried on.

Read: Man City draws level on points with Chelsea

But trailing to goals by Mathieu Debuchy and Giroud, Liverpool looked set for another damaging defeat, their cause not helped by the red card needlessly gained by substitute Fabio Borini at the start of the extended added time.

Then up stepped Skrtel to power the equalizer, but there was still time for Santi Cazorla to almost put Arsenal ahead again, his effort pushed away by Brad Jones.

The result lifts Liverpool to 10th, while Arsenal moves up to sixth, four points outside of the top four.

Skrtel shrugged off his injury when questioned after the match.

"It was painful at the time, but I think it is all right now. Injuries are all part of football," he told Sky Sports.

"It was a great cross from Adam Lallana. I had missed a header a bit before and I have been waiting for a goal for a long time," he added.

Liverpool, who reached the semifinals of the English League Cup in midweek, was the dominant side in the first half and went ahead through a fine strike from Philippe Coutinho.

Read: Real claims Club World Cup

But the lead was short lived and Debuchy leveled with a header just before half time.

Arsenal went ahead just after the hour mark when Giroud connected with a Cazorla cross and Arsene Wenger's men looked set to revenge a 5-1 defeat in the corresponding fixture last season.

That came in the middle of Liverpool's superb run which saw the team narrowly fail to win the EPL title.

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With Luis Suarez leaving for Barcelona, this season has been a struggle, increasing the pressure on manager Brendan Rodgers, but Skrtel's late brave intervention could prove a turning point.

Earlier, Sunderland beat Newcastle 1-0 in the Tyne-Wear derby, with Adam Johnson scoring a 90th minute winner for the visitors.

It was the fourth straight win in the fiercely contested derby for the Black Cats, easing them away from the relegation zone.

In France's Ligue 1, Marseille tops the table ahead of the Christmas break after a 2-1 win over Lille Sunday.

Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi secured a ninth straight home win for Marseille with the winner.

It last won the French title in 2010 but under coach Marcelo Bielsa leads champions PSG by three points.

Read: FIFA to publish key report

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