English Premiership

Giroud spares Arsenal's blushes

2017-01-07 22:18
Olivier Giroud (AP)

Cape Town - Championship side Preston North End produced a gutsy FA Cup performance against Arsenal, but fell to a late Olivier Giroud goal in a 2-1 loss at Deepdale on Saturday.

In what was a big mismatch on paper, the Championship side were the better team in the first half, and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger would have been livid with his side's lack of cutting edge.

The home supporters were treated to a brilliant display from the second-tier side and should have been three goals ahead by the end of the half.

Young forward Callum Robinson side-footed home the only goal of the opening 45 minutes after a mazy run from Ireland international Aiden McGeady set-up the former Aston Villa trainee for a simple finish.

He nearly doubled his side's lead mid-way through the half when McGeady, who impressed throughout, provided a brilliant cross, only for the 21-year-old to head just over the crossbar.

Colombian keeper David Ospina was kept busy for the entire first half and kept the Gunners in the game after the half-time interval.

Aaron Ramsey equalised two minutes after the break, after Alex Iwobi somehow managed to wriggle between a crowd of defenders in the opposition box to lay off to the Wales midfielder. Ramsey made no mistake, smashing the ball past a flat-footed Chris Maxwell in the Preston goal.

However, after a couple of disallowed goals and some scrappy play from both sides, it seemed as if Simon Grayson's side had done enough to force a third round replay at the Emirates.

But Giroud had other ideas, popping up with an 88th-minute winner, holding off Greg Cunningham and meeting Lucas Perez's neat backheel at the near post - to send the Gunners into the next round.

Read more on:    arsenal  |  fa cup  |  olivier giroud  |  soccer

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