Giroud hat-trick sinks Olympiakos



Olivier Giroud scored his first hat-trick for Arsenal to ensure the Gunners qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League by beating Olympiakos.

Needing to win by two clear goals, the Gunners produced a performance of nerve and nous to finish second in Group F.

Giroud headed the opener in the first half, then stroked home the second after good work by Joel Campbell.

The French striker put Arsenal’s qualification beyond doubt with his third from the penalty spot.

Arsenal have never failed to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League since the start of the new format in 2003-04, and their experience on the biggest stage shone through on a memorable night in Athens.

They weathered the early enthusiasm from the physical home side, who were backed by typically partisan support, and slowly seized the initiative with a composed performance.

Mathieu Flamini had already hit the bar before Giroud opened the scoring with a near-post header from Aaron Ramsey’s cross, which went in off the goalkeeper Roberto.

Related News

The second was the best goal of the night as Giroud won a flick-on on the halfway line and timed his run into the box to perfection before stroking home.

The third was slightly more fortuitous as Omar Elabdellaoui was penalised for handling Nacho Monreal’s shot and Giroud stepped up to convert with ease.

Man of the match – Olivier Giroud

It’s got to be Olivier Giroud for the way he applied the finishing touches to an accomplished team performance.

However, special mention must go to Joel Campbell who held off three defenders before taking out another two with a cute pass for Giroud’s second goal.

Time and again, Campbell showed strength to hold off his marker and vision to slide in Giroud to offer hope to Arsenal fans that they have the makings of a fine strike partnership.

Gunners fans will also be cheered to see Theo Walcott starting the game, and while the England forward clearly lacked match fitness he made some clever runs and looked dangerous both out wide and when he drifted inside.

Load more