Sanogo scores as Arsenal beat Dortmund to qualify for last 16 in Champions League
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
Yaya Sanogo grabbed his first competitive goal for Arsenal as they sealed their place in the Champions League knockout phase for the 12th year running with a 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund.
The France under-21 striker made his first start at club level since August – and immediately rewarded Arsene Wenger’s faith by firing the Gunners into an early lead.
Alexis Sanchez added a second goal soon after the restart to see off the Group D leaders and keep alive Arsenal’s hopes of overtaking them in the final round of games.
Arsenal made the perfect start, with the game barely in its second minute when Sanogo held the ball up from a throw-in, played a back-heel to Santi Cazorla and stroked the return pass under Roman Weidenfeller.
And the France Under-21 striker might have doubled the Gunners’ lead soon afterwards when Aaron Ramsey played him through, but he lost control of the ball and the eventual shot was deflected away from goal by Matthias Ginter.
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The home side produced some crisp, attacking moves, with Cazorla’s skill taking him clear on the right to sling a pinpoint cross towards Per Mertesacker, but Dortmund managed to scramble it behind.
The Bundesliga side gradually began to get a foothold in the game and Lukasz Piszczek’s low ball right across the six-yard box almost presented the sliding Ciro Immobile with a tap-in.
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However, it wasn’t until late in the first half that Emiliano Martinez was called into action, turning Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s close-range attempt around the post.
The Gunners were right on top again at the start of the second period, with Sanchez scything through the Dortmund defence before firing a low drive that Weidenfeller did well to scramble around the post.
And Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came even closer to extending Arsenal’s lead, displaying superb control to bring down Sanchez’s pass and beat the keeper with a lob that bounced back off the crossbar.
But it was Sanchez who finally grabbed the second goal in the 57th minute, collecting Cazorla’s pass and curling an exquisite finish that dipped past Weidenfeller into the far corner.
Despite Arsenal’s capitulation to Anderlecht in the final half hour of their last Champions League game, Dortmund rarely looked like mounting any sort of comeback.
Kevin Grosskreutz slid an angled chance wide, while Martinez saved low from Ilkay Gundogan – but that was as good as it got for Dortmund, who may yet need a result in their final match of the group to guarantee top spot.
Arsenal: Martinez; Chambers, Mertesacker, Monreal, Gibbs; Arteta (Flamini 67), Ramsey; Oxlade-Chamberlain (Campbell 90), Sanchez, Cazorla; Sanogo (Podolski 79).