Arsenal snatch late win in Belgrade
Red Star Belgrade XI: Milan Borjan, Damien Le Tallec, Vujadin Savic, Milan Rodic, Filip Stojkovic, Nenad Krsticic, Guélor Kanga, Mitchell Donald, Nemanja Radonjic, Slavoljub Srnic, Richmond Boakye.
Arsenal XI: Petr Cech, Mohamed Elneny, Rob Holding, Mathieu Debuchy, Joseph Willock, Francis Coquelin, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Reiss Nelson, Olivier Giroud, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott.
In a typical fiery Balkan atmosphere, Red Star set off looking to stun Arsenal with an early goal with Gabon international Kanga causing some early danger in and around the penalty area.
Such was Red Star’s pressure that veteran keeper Petr Cech had to roll back the years to produce a fine save to keep it at 0-0.
Arsenal themselves almost found a breakthrough in the first half with Egypt international Mohamed Elneny’s cross finding Olivier Giroud but his header went wide.
The second half produced more of the same with both sides failing to make the all important breakthrough despite producing plenty of chances.
In the last ten minutes, Rodic was sent off after a coming together with Francis Coquelin, which made the task even harder for the Serbian minnows.
The man advantage eventually paid off five minutes later as Jack Wilshere spearheaded a trademark Arsenal passing move which led to Olivier Giroud adjusting his body well to score an overhead kick, adding to his collection of spectacular goals.
Arsenal would hold on to win 1-0 and pick up a potentially crucial 3 points in the context of the group.
The win means that Arsenal have moved 5 points clear at the top of the group, ahead of tonight’s opponents and BATE Borisov with Koln at the foot of the table.
Their next game in the Europa League will be the return fixture of this game at the Emirates Stadium, where they can potentially seal their place in the knockout stages. Their next league game is against Everton this coming weekend.
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