UCL Match Report: Arsenal 3 ~ 0 Dinamo Zagreb, Ozil & Sanchez Keeps Arsenal In Qualification Race
Alexis Sanchez was involved in all three goals as Arsenal kept their hopes of Champions League progression alive with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Dinamo Zagreb at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night.
Having provided the assist for Mesut Ozil to open the scoring after 29 minutes, Sanchez found the net either side of half-time to wrap up a vital win for the Gunners.
With just one Group F win to their name prior to Tuesday’s tie, Arsene Wenger’s side needed three points on their home turf to stand any chance of reaching the last 16.
After dominating possession without threatening early on, they eventually opened the scoring when Ozil capped a well-worked attacking move, netting from the side’s first shot on target of the game.
Sanchez doubled the advantage 12 minutes from the interval, before rounding goalkeeper Eduardo to complete the scoring in the 69th minute.
The result leaves Arsenal needing a two-goal victory at second-placed Olympiacos – who were thumped 4-0 at Bayern Munich while the Gunners were blitzing Dinamo – to guarantee progression in a fortnight.
Wenger can take heart from his side dominating a team they had lost to in their first match of the latest European campaign, with Mathieu Flamini turning in a steady performance in the injury-enforced absence of Francis Coquelin in midfield and Aaron Ramsey returning from a hamstring problem.
Santi Cazorla scooped over from close range with the first meaningful opportunity of the match before Olivier Giroud saw strong penalty appeals waved away by referee Viktor Kassai and Arsenal found themselves frustrated as Dinamo defended in numbers as the half progressed.
However, Ozil made the vital breakthrough just short of the half-hour mark when he stooped to meet Sanchez’s wonderfully flighted cross from the left following a superb sequence of Arsenal passes, heading beyond Eduardo in the Dinamo goal.
Ozil’s opener came from Arsenal’s first shot on target and the second resulted in a goal, too.
Leonardo Sigali played a clearance straight to the feet of Nacho Monreal and the full-back drove into the penalty area before cutting a pass back for Sanchez to slot home.
Ozil, who has now been involved in 11 Arsenal goals in his last nine appearances, danced through the Dinamo defence only to see his shot touched wide before the half was up, and Eduardo got down well to keep out the German’s next effort from the centre of the box.
Cazorla saw an effort pushed away by Eduardo as Arsenal dominated the early stages of the second half and the Brazilian goalkeeper showed great reactions to keep out a deflected Giroud header from a corner.
But Arsenal eventually found their third as Joel Campbell roamed in from the right to play the ball into Sanchez, who coolly negotiated his way around Eduardo to convert from a tight angle.
Petr Cech was briefly called into action as Arsenal frantically attempted to clear from their own six-yard box and El Arbi Hillel Soudani had the ball in the back of the net before the final whistle, but Dinamo were denied a consolation by the offside flag as they crashed out of the competition.