Giroud's overhead kick gives Arsenal 1-0 win at Red Star
Olivier Giroud scored late in the second half for Arsenal to maintain its perfect Europa League campaign with a 1-0 win over 10-man Red Star Belgrade yesterday.
Giroud struck with an overhead kick off Theo Walcott's headed pass, five minutes after Red Star's Milan Rodic was sent off for a second yellow card in the 80th minute.
"It was a great combination before the goal as well, and he finished well," Arsenal manager ArsËne Wenger said.
Arsenal opened a five-point lead in Group H with nine points. Red Star and BATE Borisov, which beat visiting Cologne 1-0, are on four. Cologne is bottom without a point.
Elsewhere, Lazio rallied to take three points at Nice with a 3-1 win in Group K, and Real Sociedad thrashed Macedonia's Vardar 6-0 in Group L with Willian Jose scoring four goals.
Milan was held 0-0 at home by Greek team AEK in Group D, and Everton's campaign suffered another blow after a 2-1 loss at home to Lyon in Group E.
Arsenal rested nine front-line players who were in the line-up for the English Premier League's match against Watford on Saturday, which Arsenal lost 2-1. But goalkeeper Petr Cech was in the goal as captain and made his presence felt, making several perfect saves.
"It's important to have a good goalkeeper in this kind of game, too," Wenger said. "They were dangerous and Petr Cech kept us in the game."
Mathieu Debuchy returned to the squad after a year due to injuries.
With several young players, including Reiss Nelson, Joseph Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, the Gunners did not look dangerous until Giroud's goal.
"I believe you win when you can, you do not decide when," Wenger said. "What's remarkable is the spirit we have shown. They defended very well, but the goal is a consequence of us wanting to play through them."
Richmond Boakye headed the ball onto the crossbar in the biggest chance for Red Star.