Everything is still in our hands heading into the final day of the Champions League, with our 3-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb combined with Bayern Munich’s dominant victory over Olympiacos meaning second spot is still up for grabs.
It was a bright start from both sides, and looked set to be tight game. Things soon changed however, and we slowly settled into the game and began to dominate.
Alexis Sanchez was initially still looking a little off his game, and was regularly being dispossessed. After a few half chances for the Chilean, Santi Cazorla, and Olivier Giroud however, we finally broke the deadlock.
It was a pacy attack that went from back to front very quickly, with Alexis Sanchez racing onto the ball down the left flank. He put an early cross in for Mesut Özil, and the German stooped to head past Zagreb’ shot-stopper Eduardo. 1-0.
Moments later we doubled our lead, and it was the provider of the first goal who applied the finish this time. Zagreb dallied on the ball at the edge of their own box, and were dispossessed by Santi Cazorla. He played a simple pass to put Nacho Monreal into the six yard box, and the left-back cut it back for Alexis who slotted into the back of the net. 2-0.
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Özil is in fine form, and his goal looked to have given him a confidence boost. He should have got one or two more before half time, but Eduardo was on hand to deny him.
The second half started with more of the same, and we dominated a sloppy and sluggish looking team.
Olivier Giroud came close with a headed effort, but again was kept out by Eduardo. And Hector Bellerin’s pace was on display during a phenomenal counter attack, but he was matched by Zagreb’s right back Pinto – not often you see a player matching the Spaniard for pace – who put a great tackle in to stop the cross.
We finally got the goal that really put the game to bed, with Alexis Sanchez latching onto a superb pass from Joel Campbell and rounding the goalkeeper to get our third.
He lashed the ball into the net from a tight angle, ensuring there was no way back for Zagreb. 3-0.
Petr Cech made a great reaction save to keep our clean sheet intact, while Alexis Sanchez was denied what really should have been a penalty.
Özil was unlucky not to get his second late on, with his headed effort going just wide after an excellent Alexis through ball, but in the end it finished 3-0.
We were really driven forward by Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil on the night, which is exactly the way it should be. A 2-0 win is now needed in Greece, a tall order but something we’re certainly capable of.