Champions League: Arsenal beat Borussia Dortmund to qualify for last 16
Last Updated: 27/11/14 9:24am
Arsenal beat Borussia Dortmund 2-0 at the Emirates on Tuesday night to once again qualify for the knockout phase of the Champions League.
The north London club managed to get the better of their German opposition in the Champions League thanks to strikes in each half from Yaya Sanogo and Alexis Sanchez.
The home team made a dream start to proceedings by taking the lead after just 73 seconds through France Under-21 international Sanogo, who earned his place in the starting line-up due to a knee injury picked up by Danny Welbeck.
The young striker played a neat one-two with the impressive Santi Cazorla on the edge of the visitors’ penalty area, before then displaying remarkable coolness by cleverly slipping the ball under the body of the onrushing Roman Weidenfeller in the Dortmund goal.
And while subsequent replays did show the youngster to be marginally offside, Sanogo could have made the Bundesliga outfit’s subsequent protests null and void had he managed to double his team’s advantage minutes later.
However, despite being played clean through on goal after Dortmund’s offside trap badly malfunctioned on the halfway line, on this occasion the starlet’s composure deserted him, and the chance went begging as the visitors' defence got back to clear the danger.
The Gunners were not made to pay for their wastefulness in front of goal though as in-form forward Sanchez made it 2-0 after 57 minutes with a lovely curling finish with his right foot from the edge of the area.
And that strike was the Chile international's 13th in just 20 games in all competitions since joining from Barcelona in the summer, while the diminutive forward has also now managed to find the back of the net on seven occasions in his last six games.
As a result, the visitors appeared to have the stuffing knocked out of them and barely threatened to pull a goal back in the final half an hour, going down to their first defeat in the competition since they were thrashed by eventual champions Real Madrid in last season's quarter-finals.
Meanwhile for the home team, the pressure is now at least off their under-siege manager Arsene Wenger following their recent setbacks in the Premier League to Swansea City and Manchester United.
Arsenal are now able to look forward to competing in the last 16 of the Champions League next February - the 15th successive season in which they have reached that stage - and they still have a chance of claiming top spot in the group come the final round of matches.
And the Frenchman was particularly happy with his side's clean sheet after the match, saying: "Our focus to defend well together pleased me most. I think we had a similar game to Saturday (when they lost 2-1 at home to Manchester United).
"And we focussed really well not to give any chances away and overall it was a committed game and we were maybe better defensively tonight.
"We are a team that likes to go forward, and sometimes when I feel that we completely dominate a game we are maybe a bit of a victim of that and we forget to take the precaution to defend well, but I think we learn as well through the games and we have done that better tonight.”
GRAEME SOUNESS'S VERDICT
Alexis is a real plus for Arsenal this year. He’s getting all types of goals, and on top of his goals he makes other people play because he’s infectious.
He has perpetual motion, he never gives up on any cause, and you can see what his goals mean to him. He lives and breathes football and it must be an absolute delight to play with him, and that makes other people play.
If you’ve got somebody turning up every day for training – he’ll be first in the group, doing all the running properly, he’ll show great enthusiasm – that will be infectious to the lesser lights in that Arsenal squad, the younger players, the ones that maybe don’t have the same attitude. Players like him are priceless in your group.