Gunners see off BATE to book last 16 place


Arsenal comfortably saw off BATE Borisov 3-0 at the Emirates to book their place in the last 16 of the Europa League, winning the tie 3-1 on aggregate.

Unai Emery would have been keen for an early goal to level the tie, but Alex Iwobi’s first minute effort was straight at BATE’s keeper Denis Scherbitski.

The Spaniard didn’t have to wait long for the goal to arrive though. On three minutes, a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang run and cross ended in Zahkar Volkov deflecting the ball past his own goalkeeper.

The first five minutes signalled what could be a long night for the Belasurian champions, as the difference in quality between the two sides was clear to see.

Chances continued to be created as Iwobi curled wide and then Henrikh Mkhitaryan blazed over.

BATE did have a effort struck into the side-netting on the counter from Maksim Skavysh before a low-struck shot from first-leg goalscorer Stanislav Dragun was cleared off the line by the ever-shaky Arsenal defence.

A speculative effort from Granit Xhaka, who was often a threat from range, forced a diving save from Scherbitski.

Arsenal persisted in their search for the goal to take them ahead on aggregate but BATE were holding firm as the half hour mark passed.

The impressive Özil volleyed over from just inside the box before Arsenal’s second arrived on 38 minutes.

An in-swinging corner from Xhaka was powered home by Shkodran Mustafi much to the delight of Emery. The goal gave the Gunners complete control of the tie as the teams headed in for half-time.

A curling Matteo Guendouzi strike curled just away from the BATE goal as the north London club searched for the goal to see off the tie. BATE had a great chance at the other end but attacker Skavysh could only fire straight at Petr Cech from close range.

An Iwobi shot on the counter after being slid in by Özil was well saved as slight tension was heard around the ground, Gunners fans keen to avoid the possibility of any late drama.

A sliding challenge by BATE captain Igor Stasevich prevented Mkhitaryan from a clear chance as the Armenian forced another corner.

The resulting in-swinging corner was once again profitable. The ball was missed by the BATE keeper to leave Sokratis Papastathopoulos free to head into an empty net and relieve nerves around the Emirates.

Somehow it wasn’t four on 70 minutes. After a slip in the BATE defence, Aubameyang was played clear through who chipped over Scherbitski, only to see his effort rolled agonisingly wide with half the stadium already celebrating.

The game came to a rather drab ending with Arsenal having done the job they set out to do at the start of the night.

Unai Emery’s team booking their place in tomorrow’s round of 16 draw.

Attendance: 58, 812

Arsenal XI: Cech, Monreal, Koscielny (Sokratis, 56), Mustafi, Lichtsteiner, Xhaka, Guendouzi (Torreira ,63), Iwobi, Özil, Mkhitaryan (Suarez, 78), Aubameyang

Arsenal unused substitutes: Leno, Ramsey,Denis Suarez, Kolasinac, Nketiah

FC Bate Borisov: , Filipovic, Filipenko, Volkov, Rios, Dragun (Berezkin, 64), Simovic, Milic, Baga (Hleb, 59), Stasevich, Skavysh

FC Bate Borisov unused substitutes: Chichkan, Yablonski, Dubajic, Nemirko, Mourkam

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