Olympiacos 0-1 Arsenal: Lacazette gives Gunners advantage

Alexandre Lacazette scored the only goal late on to give Arsenal the advantage in this UEFA Europa League round of 32 opener.

Highlights: Olympiacos 0-1 Arsenal
Highlights: Olympiacos 0-1 Arsenal

The match at a glance

Olympiacos flew out of the blocks and went close twice in the opening minutes, first when Bernd Leno sprawled to his left to keep out Mathieu Valbuena's volley then when Giorgos Masouras headed over. Arsenal slowly seized control, though, and Alexandre Lacazette should have struck from Gabriel Martinelli's cutback.

Leno had to be alert to smother Valbuena's free-kick at the second attempt as Olympiacos threatened in the second half, but the visitors eventually broke through when Lacazette turned home Bukayo Saka's cross. Sokratis Papastathopoulos then headed against the bar as Mikel Arteta claimed his first European win as Arsenal manager.

OLYMPIACOS vs ARSENAL: as it happened


View from the stadium: Vassiliki Papantonopoulou, match reporter

A simple finish by Lacazette gave Arsenal a deserved victory in Piraeus. They were more consistent overall than Olympiacos, who tried to make home advantage count at the beginning of the match and after the hour mark, but lacked finishing and clear minds in their deployment. Now the Gunners have a huge advantage ahead of the match next week, while Olympiacos must negotiate it without the suspended Rúben Semedo in their defence.

Mikel Arteta won his first European game as Arsenal boss
Mikel Arteta won his first European game as Arsenal boss Getty Images

Reaction

Pedro Martins, Olympiacos coach: "Nobody likes to concede a goal in the final minutes. In general terms, we played well in a match with intensity. Football is all about effectiveness – we didn't convert our chances, our rivals did. But today was just the first half of the tie. As far as I am concerned, the London match is open. We have a good team, quality players and I am confident that we can respond to the challenge."

Ousseynou Ba, Olympiacos defender: "It wasn't the result we were hoping for. We had more chances to win than to lose this match. But at this high level, the verdict is in the details. We conceded a goal that we shouldn't have, but we shouldn't focus on that now. We are a team; we must bounce back and prepare for the upcoming match."

Mikel Arteta, Arsenal manager: "It's a really good result. First of all to win away in Europe, but to come to a ground like this and win – credit to the lads. We suffered for the first ten minutes, we gave the ball away too much and couldn't get any continuity in our play. In the second half, apart from the set pieces, we controlled the game much better. We could have put the tie in a better position. We had positions and chances where we'd expect the players to put the ball in the net."

Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal forward: "It was a good performance. We had a clean sheet, that's a good point. We wanted to score more goals, but in the end it's good because we have an advantage for the second leg."

The two teams meet again in London next Thursday
The two teams meet again in London next ThursdayAFP via Getty Images

Key stats

8: Olympiacos have not won any of their last eight home games in the knockout stage of the UEFA Europa League (D4 L4)

10: Arsenal are unbeaten in ten away games in all competitions

12: Arsenal have kept a clean sheet in 12 of their last 21 UEFA Europa League games

20: Olympiacos had scored in all 20 home games this season before this game

Line-ups

Olympiacos: José Sá; Elabdellaoui, Rúben Semedo, Ba, Tsimikas; Bouchalakis (Fortounis 64), Camara, Guilherme; Masouras (Lovera 75), Valbuena; El Arabi

Arsenal: Leno; Mustafi, David Luiz, Papastathopoulos (Maitland-­Niles 90+2), Saka; Guendouzi, Xhaka; Martinelli (Ceballos 58), Aubameyang, Willock (Pépé 75); Lacazette