Arsenal 3-0 Dinamo Zagreb: Alexis Sanchez keeps Gunners' hopes alive
Last Updated: 25/11/15 10:13am
Arsenal kept their Champions League hopes alive with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Dinamo Zagreb at the Emirates Stadium.
Nothing but three points and a Bayern Munich victory against Olympiakos would have been enough to keep their European campaign on course and Arsene Wenger's side did their job, taking the lead in the 29th minute thanks to Mesut Ozil's diving header.
Alexis Sanchez doubled the advantage just four minutes later and added his second of the night in 69th minute after excellent work from Joel Campbell.
With the three points safe attention turned to Munich where Bayern beat Olympiakos 4-0 in the other game in Group F.
That result means the Gunners will travel to Olympiakos on December 9 needing to win by two clear goals - or by any margin with Arsenal scoring at least three goals in Piraeus - to qualify for the last 16 for a 16th straight season.
With Arsenal losing three of their first four group games, all the pressure was on Wenger and his side going into the game and they started nervously with the visitors forcing a couple of early corners.
The Gunners, who made two changes from the side that lost to West Brom at the weekend - Campbell and Mathieu Flamini replacing Kieran Gibbs and the injured Francis Coquelin - held firm and grew into the game, Santi Cazorla firing over in the seventh minute after Campbell's cross.
After their slow start, Arsenal were starting to dominate possession and were getting joy down the left through Nacho Monreal.
The Spanish full-back burst clear of Ivo Pinto, before standing a cross up to the back post where neither Olivier Giroud nor Campbell could get on the end of it.
The momentum was with the home side and they had their reward in the 29th minute after a quick break which saw Sanchez pick out Ozil, who guided the ball past Eduardo with a diving header from close range.
Minutes later, Wenger's men doubled their lead as Monreal won the ball back high up the field and picked out Sanchez in the middle of the six-yard box. The Chile international calmly swept the ball home to end a run of six games in all club competitions without a goal.
Arsenal were in full control and it was the exceptional Ozil who went close to scoring again, only to be denied by Eduardo low down to his right.
Dinamo Zagreb had their goalkeeper to thank again just after the break as he not only kept out Cazorla's long-range effort but also Giroud's header with a diving save away to his left.
Arsenal received a much needed boost when the fit-again Aaron Ramsey replaced Giroud with just under 25 minutes remaining.
Sanchez moved up front in the absence of the Frenchman and made an instant impact, latching onto Campbell's inch-perfect pass to round the keeper and make the three points safe.
It was an easy night's work for Petr Cech but he was called into action with a superb reaction save late on when Laurent Koscielny's clearance cannoned off Marko Rog. It was the only real danger for the hosts as they kept their bid for the Champions League last 16 on track.
And after Bayern crushed Olympiakos at the Allianz Arena, Arsenal go to Athens next month for the decider, Wenger's side in with a real chance of salvaging qualification from the group stage.