Arsenal 2 (Walcott 35, Sanchez 65) – Olympiakos 3 (Pardo 32, Ospina (O.G) 40, Finnbogason 66)
Man of the Match – Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)
Arsenal crashed to a second successive shock defeat in the Champions League Group Stages, this time to Greek champions, Olympiakos. Having already lost at Dinamo Zagreb, the Gunners knew nothing less than a win would do, considering they have ties with German giants Bayern Munich coming up. To qualify, Arsenal will now have to repeat the feat of Galatasaray in 2012-2013, who qualified, having lost their first two group games.
David Ospina was again preferred in goal, with the manager citing an injury problem to Petr Cech as the reason for selecting the Colombian. Per Mertesacker, Nacho Monreal and Aaron Ramsey, too were named on the bench, with Gabriel Paulista, Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain getting respective nods.
The opening half hour of the game was a cagey affair between both sides, neither able to take the mantle. But, in the 32nd minute, the floodgates opened. After a defensive mixup between Gabriel and Koscielny, the ball was played towards the edge of the box, where Pardot hooked the ball towards goal. It deflected off Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, into the net. Arsenal, however were level, less than 2 minutes later, when Alexis played in Walcott. The England striker created a bit of space, and glided the ball past Roberto, the Olympiakos keeper.
5 minutes later, the visitors were in the lead again, thanks to some calamitous goalkeeping from David Ospina. From the corner, he caught the ball, and managed to drop it behind the line. Arsenal now faced an uphill task in the second half, not helped by the fact that Olympiakos dug deep to defend, and an injury to Laurent Koscielny, who was replaced by Per Mertesacker. Arsenal got reward for the persistence in the 65th minute, when Alexis headed home from a Walcott cross to level matters.
Arsenal managed to self-destruct seconds later, as Iceland international Alfred Finnbogason scored the easiest goal one could score, to seal Olympiakos’ first win on English soil.
Jai Arsenal 🙂
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