Arsenal 1-2 Ostersunds (4-2 on aggregate): Gunners into Europa League last 16 after scare
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 23/02/18 7:58am
Arsenal qualified for the last 16 of the Europa League with a 4-2 aggregate victory against Ostersunds, despite losing 2-1 to the Swedes in the second leg at the Emirates.
The Gunners were leading 3-0 from the first leg last Thursday, but were poor in the first half as Ostersunds stormed into a 2-0 lead on the night thanks to a Calum Chambers own goal (22) and Ken Sema (23).
Sead Kolasinac hammered home to pull a goal back for Arsenal a minute into the second half and ultimately seal a 4-2 aggregate victory. Arsene Wenger's side now turn their attention to the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.
Arsenal will find out their last-16 opponents when the Europa League draw is made on Friday afternoon.
Arsenal: Ospina (6), Bellerin (6), Chambers (5), Holding (6), Kolasinac (6), Elneny (6), Maitland-Niles (5), Mkhitaryan (5), Wilshere (6), Iwobi (6), Welbeck (6).
Subs used: Xhaka (5), Willock (4), Nelson (n/a).
Ostersunds: Keita (7), Pettersson (7), Papagiannopoulos (7), Widgren (6), Mukiibi (6), Aiesh (7), Sema (8), Edwards (6), Nouri (7), Hopcutt (7), Ghoddos (7).
Subs used: Tekie (6), Islamovic (5), Arhin (5).
Man of the match: Ken Sema.
Ostersunds began the first half well with Brwa Nouri just missing a through ball from Saman Ghoddos in the 10th minute, before David Ospina was forced into a low save after Sema tried to hit home from the right after shrugging off Hector Bellerin.
But the Swedes deservedly made the breakthrough in the 22nd minute. Hosam Aiesh was set away down the left-hand side of the box before slotting the ball past the on-rushing Ospina, but it was directed goalwards by the foot of Chambers, who was credited with the own goal.
Jack Wilshere, Rob Holding and Sead Kolasinac came into the Arsenal XI from a week ago with Mesut Ozil, Shkodran Mustafi and Nacho Monreal dropping out. For Ostersunds, Jamie Hopcutt and Hosam Aiesh replaced Sam Mensah and Salisu Abdullahi Gero.
Sixty-nine seconds later and Sema made it 2-0 with a superb finish. He showed off his power once again to hold off Chambers after a ball over the top from Ghoddos, before slamming the ball home past Ospina with aplomb to stun the home fans.
But it was mere minutes into the second half when Arsenal pulled a goal back. Bellerin crossed in from the right flank, with Ronald Mukiibi swinging a leg at the ball to try and clear but could not connect, allowing Kolasinac to convert from close range.
Both goalkeepers were called into action during the remainder of the game, with Ostersunds' best chance of the second half coming in the 55th minute. Nouri whipped in a ball from the left with Jamie Hopcutt heading towards Ronald Mukiibi, but he could not make contact as Ospina scooped up the ball.
Ostersunds goalkeeper Aly Keita was the busier of the two and made two fine saves as the clock ticked past the hour mark. The first came from a fierce Mohamed Elneny drive in the 63rd minute, before Danny Welbeck nodded an Alex Iwobi cross straight into his arms five minutes later.
Neither side created much more in terms of chances as Arsenal saw out the game with their aggregate advantage, but it will still be a night to remember for Ostersunds.
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- Despite progressing into the next round, Arsenal have now lost each of their last six home games in the knockout rounds of European competition.
- Graham Potter is just the sixth English manager to win at the Emirates in all competitions (after Alan Curbishley, Phil Brown, Harry Redknapp, Michael Appleton and Garry Monk), but the first to do so in European competition.
- Arsenal's defenders have contributed 20 goals in all competitions this season, the most of any Premier League side (Chelsea 16, Man City 10).
- Arsenal have scored nine own goals since Calum Chambers debuted for them in August 2014, while he has been responsible for 33 per cent of them (3 of 9).
Man of the match - Ken Sema
Sema was the driving force behind Ostersunds' impressive attacking play in the first half and caused real problems down the left. He showed off his strength in holding off Bellerin, Chambers and co on a number of occasions. He rounded it off with a fine goal - much deserved, too - and should be pleased with his evening's work.
It's a huge one next for Arsenal - they take on Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley on Sunday live on Sky Sports.