Late Lacazette winner gives Arsenal advantage
Gunners beat Olympiakos 1-0 in Athens to take control of Europa League last-32 tie
20 February, 2020 — By Steve Barnett
Europa League Last-32
ARSENAL 1 (Lacazette 81)
IT’S advantage Arsenal in the race to reach the last-16 of the Europa League after Alexandre Lacazette scored a late winner against Olympiakos tonight (Thursday) in Athens.
The French forward struck from six-yards in the 81st minute after Bukayo Saka had latched onto Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s pass and whipped in a dangerous cross.
Despite winning his first ever European game as a manager, Mikel Arteta said he was disappointed that the Gunners only have a 1-0 lead going into the second leg at the Emirates Stadium next Thursday.
He said: “It’s a really good result, to come to a ground like this and get a result isn’t easy. Credit to the lads.
“We gave a lot of simple balls away in the first 10 minutes, but after that we started to have more control of the game, and controlled the ball more in our opponents half.
“We had chances to score more, I think we could have put the tie in a much better position. We had clear chances with top players and expected to put the ball in the net.”
Olympiakos made the brighter start, squandering two good chances in the opening four minutes.
First, Bernd Leno denied Mathieu Valbuena from an acute angle after the Frenchman was left unmarked on the left-hand side of the Arsenal box.
Then, just moments later, Giorgos Masouras spurned an even better chance when he headed Valbuena’s inviting cross over the bar from close range.
Lacazette looked like he was going to have one of those nights when he fired wide from Gabriel Martinelli’s cut-back midway through the half.
However, with less than 10 minutes left in the clock the striker pounced from close range to score what could prove a vital away goal.
Aubameyang did well to control a long-range pass from Shkodran Mustafi and find Saka, and the 18-year-old recorded his ninth assist of the season by picking out Lacazette for an easy finish.
Lacazette was denied a quick-fire second by Olympiakos goalkeeper Jose Sa following another rapid Arsenal counter-attack, with Sokratis rattling the crossbar from the resulting corner.
OLYMPIAKOS: Sa, Elabdellaoui, Semedo, Ba, Tsimikas, Guilherme, Camara, Bouchalakis (Fortounis, 65), Masouras (Lovera, 75), Valbuena, El Arabi.
Substitutes not used: Allain, Papadopoulos, Cisse, Gaspar, Randjelovic,
ARSENAL: Leno, Mustafi, Sokratis (Maitland-Niles, 90+2), Luiz, Saka, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Willock (Pepe, 75), Martinelli (Ceballos, 58), Aubameyang, Lacazette.
Substitutes not used: Martinez, Holding, Kolasinac, Nketiah.