Champions League

Sanchez stars in Arsenal win

2015-11-25 00:22
Alexis Sanchez (Getty Images)

London - Arsenal kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League last 16 as Alexis Sanchez inspired a vital 3-0 win against Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday.

Arsene Wenger's side were in severe danger of an embarrassingly early exit after losing three of their first four Group F matches.

But Chile winger Sanchez was the catalyst for a result that, combined with Bayern Munich's thrashing of Olympiakos, gives Arsenal renewed belief they can reach the knockout stages for a 16th successive year.

Sanchez laid on Mesut Ozil's first half opener at the Emirates Stadium, then struck himself before the interval and wrapped up the points with his second goal in the closing stages.

The Gunners still have work to do, however, as they face a shoot-out for a last 16 berth with Olympiakos in their final group fixture on December 9.

Second placed Olympiakos, 3-2 winners when the teams met earlier in the campaign, are three points ahead of Arsenal and the north Londoners will only advance if they win in Greece by either a two-goal margin or by winning by a one-goal margin having scored three or more goals.

Even that tricky task will seem like a welcome assignment for Arsenal after they successfully navigated what could have been a nerve-jangling experience against Dinamo, whose shock 2-1 win over Wenger's men in September had played a large role in their perilous predicament.

With their European campaign hanging by a slender thread, Wenger made two changes from Saturday's defeat at West Bromwich Albion as Mathieu Flamini and Joel Campbell replaced Francis Coquelin and Kieran Gibbs.

Just one win from their last five matches was hardly ideal preparation for a do-or-die showdown, so it wasn't surprising Arsenal made a nervous start.

Wenger had said he would be kept informed of developments in Munich and he would have been greatly reassured by the news that Olympiakos had fallen three goals behind within 20 minutes.

With Bayern doing their part to keep Arsenal in contention, the north Londoners needed to increase their own tempo after a sluggish start in a subdued atmosphere not helped by a surprisingly large amount of empty seats at the Emirates.

Wenger's team had dominated possession without threatening to open up the massed ranks of the Dinamo defence, but they finally clicked into gear to take the lead with an incisive counter-attack in the 29th minute.

It was a flowing move out of keeping with the soporific fare that had come before it.

Taking the ball deep inside his own half, Santi Cazorla moved possession onto Flamini and he set Sanchez galloping clear in acres of space on the left.

While Sanchez sprinted towards the Dinamo goal, Ozil had made his own lung-bursting surge and the midfielder was perfectly placed in the six-yard box to bury a flying header from the Chilean's clipped cross.

Confidence now coursing through their veins, there was noticeably more swagger about Arsenal's play and within four minutes they had doubled their lead.

This time the goal came courtesy of a horrendous mistake from Dinamo defender Leonardo Sigali, whose woefully misplaced pass on the edge of his own penalty area was intercepted by Nacho Monreal.

Sigali's mistake had completely unhinged the Dinamo rearguard, leaving Monreal with room to break into the area and slide his pass towards Sanchez, who slotted a cool first-time finish past Eduardo from close-range.

Ozil could have killed off the Croatians, but the German's shot was smartly saved by Eduardo and the keeper did well again early in the second half when he repelled Olivier Giroud's header.

Dinamo's attacking impotence made the second half routine for Arsenal and, after Aaron Ramsey came on for his first appearance for a month, the imperious Sanchez capped his latest masterclass in the 69th minute.

Campbell played his part with a fine run and clever reverse pass that Sanchez drove high into the net to complete part one of Arsenal's escape act.


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

01 November 2016
Besiktas v Napoli, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Celtic, Borussia-Park 21:45
Benfica v Dynamo Kyiv, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Barcelona, Etihad Stadium 21:45
PSV v FC Bayern München, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Paris Saint-Germain, St Jakob-Park 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v Arsenal, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v FC Rostov, Vicente Calderon 21:45
02 November 2016
FC Porto v Club Brugge, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Juventus v Lyon, Juventus Stadium 21:45
FC København v Leicester City, Parken Stadion 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Real Madrid, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Sevilla v Dinamo Zagreb, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Sporting Lisbon, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v CSKA Moscow, Stade Louis II 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Wembley 21:45
22 November 2016
CSKA Moscow v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Arena CSKA 19:00
Sporting Lisbon v Real Madrid, Estadio Jose Alvalade 21:45
Leicester City v Club Brugge, King Power Stadium 21:45
Dinamo Zagreb v Lyon, Maksimir 21:45
FC København v FC Porto, Parken Stadion 21:45
Sevilla v Juventus, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Legia Warsaw, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v Tottenham Hotspur, Stade Louis II 21:45
23 November 2016
FC Rostov v FC Bayern München, Olimp-2 Stadium 19:00
Besiktas v Benfica, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Manchester City, Borussia-Park 21:45
Celtic v Barcelona, Celtic Park 21:45
Arsenal v Paris Saint-Germain, Emirates Stadium 21:45
Napoli v Dynamo Kyiv, San Paolo 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v FC Basel, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v PSV, Vicente Calderon 21:45
06 December 2016
FC Bayern München v Atlético de Madrid, Allianz Arena 21:45
Barcelona v Borussia Mönchengladbach, Camp Nou 21:45
Benfica v Napoli, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Celtic, Etihad Stadium 21:45
Dynamo Kyiv v Besiktas, Kiev Olympic Stadium 21:45
Paris Saint-Germain v Ludogorets Razgrad, Parc des Princes 21:45
PSV v FC Rostov, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Arsenal, St Jakob-Park 21:45
07 December 2016
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Monaco, BayArena 21:45
FC Porto v Leicester City, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Club Brugge v FC København, Jan Breydelstadion 21:45
Juventus v Dinamo Zagreb, Juventus Stadium 21:45
Lyon v Sevilla, Parc OL 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Sporting Lisbon, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund, Santiago Bernabeu 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v CSKA Moscow, Wembley 21:45
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will be the 2015/16 Champions League top scorer?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.