Champions League

Giroud stars in Arsenal victory

2015-12-10 00:18
Olivier Giroud (AP)

Piraeus - Olivier Giroud netted a hat-trick to propel Arsenal to a 3-0 win at Olympiakos on Wednesday and send the Gunners through to the Champions League knockout stages at the expense of the Greeks.

The France striker gave Arsenal a first-half lead at the Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus before netting twice more, the third coming from the penalty spot, to ensure Arsene Wenger's side reached the last 16 of the competition for the 16th year in a row.

Arsenal progressed as runners-up in Group F behind Bayern Munich who rounded out their campaign with a 2-0 victory away to Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia.

Successive defeats to Dinamo and Olympiakos to start the group had put the Gunners in a perilous position, but Arsenal arrived in Greece with their fate in their own hands, needing to overturn a 3-2 defeat in London back in September.

Theo Walcott, who made an appearance off the bench in Saturday's 3-1 victory at home to Sunderland in the Premier League, made his first start since injuring his calf at the end of October, coming in for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Colombian striker Felipe Pardo, who scored the opener at the Emirates in the first meeting, gave the visitors an early scare as he fired just over on 20 minutes.

Mathieu Flamini went even closer for the Gunners five minutes later when he drove a shot against the crossbar, with his effort taking a slight deflection off Manuel Da Costa.

But Giroud made the crucial breakthrough on 29 minutes, heading home Aaron Ramsey's cross after some suspect goalkeeping from Roberto who allowed the ball to creep in at the near post after initially getting a strong hand to it.

There was cause for concern as Giroud went down clutching his right ankle just after half-time, but any injury fears were allayed as the Frenchman struck again shortly after to double Arsenal's lead on 49 minutes.

Costa Rica international Joel Campbell, who spent the 2013-14 season on loan at Olympiakos, wriggled away from two defenders inside the box before sliding a pass into the path of Giroud who swept low past Roberto.

Despite their two-goal lead the Gunners knew that were the Greeks to pull one back then the home side would reclaim the upper hand.

However Walcott nearly gave Wenger's men further breathing space just before the hour, only for his volley to brush Arthur Masuaku and flash wide of the post.

Petr Cech then made a smart save to tip over Kostas Fortounis' long-range attempt before Arsenal grabbed a third on 67 minutes to ease the nerves.

Omar Elabdellaoui tried to make a sliding intervention to block Nacho Monreal's goalbound shot, but the ball instead struck the Norwegian's outstretched arm and Giroud calmly tucked away the resultant spot-kick to seal his hat-trick.

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Fixtures
Tuesday, 25 February 2020
Napoli v Barcelona, San Paolo 22:00
Chelsea v Bayern Munchen, Stamford Bridge 22:00
Wednesday, 26 February 2020
Lyon v Juventus, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Real Madrid v Manchester City, Santiago Bernabeu 22:00
Tuesday, 10 March 2020
Valencia v Atalanta, Mestalla 22:00
RB Leipzig v Tottenham Hotspur, Red Bull Arena 22:00
Wednesday, 11 March 2020
Liverpool v Atletico Madrid, Anfield 22:00
Paris SG v Borussia Dortmund, Parc des Princes 22:00
Tuesday, 17 March 2020
Juventus v Lyon, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Manchester City v Real Madrid, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 18 March 2020
Bayern Munchen v Chelsea, Allianz Arena 22:00
Barcelona v Napoli, Camp Nou 22:00
Logs
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
Vote

Who will emerge victorious in this season's Champions League?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

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

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2019/20 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

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.