EUROPA LEAGUE

Late Arsenal strikes sink error-prone Olympiakos

late-arsenal-strikes-sink-error-prone-olympiakos

Olympiakos got a taste of its own medicine on Thursday as Arsenal scored two late goals to beat the Greek champion 3-1 on Thursday in the first leg of the Europa League Round of 16.

In three of its last four games Olympiakos had snatched the results it wanted thanks to goals in the dying minutes, including qualification to the last 16 of the Europa League with an 88th minute goal at PSV Eindhoven. However this time it was quite different for the last surviving representative of Greece in Europe this season.

Eager to avenge their elimination to the Greeks last year, the Gunners were the better team in the first 50 minutes of the game, despite conceding most of the possession to the hosts.

Arsenal duly took a first-half lead through a Martin Odegaard 34th minute goal, and looked comfortable until a Dani Ceballos error at the Londoners’ defense gave the chance to Super League top scorer Youssef El-Arabi to draw Olympiakos level on the 58th.

For some 20 minutes it seemed like Olympiakos was going to turn things around, putting pressure on Arsenal, but its defense – including keeper Jose Sa – was on a poor night and kept making mistakes.

The Premier League side would not forgive those mistakes and scored twice in the last 10 minutes, first via Gabriel and then through Mohamed Elneny (a spectacular strike), to reduce next week’s second leg to a mere formality.