Europa League - Group H
Arsenal3Köln1

Arsenal 3-1 FC Cologne

Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez scored his first goal of the season for Arsenal

Alexis Sanchez scored a stunning goal as Arsenal came from behind to beat Cologne in a Europa League match delayed for an hour following crowd trouble.

Chilean Sanchez, who nearly left the club to join Manchester City on transfer deadline day, picked the ball up outside the area and curled a shot past keeper Timo Horn.

The game did not begin until 21:05 BST as thousands of visiting supporters arrived at the ground without tickets and then clashed with stewards inside the Emirates Stadium.

When the match did get under way, Cologne took the lead in spectacular fashion as Jhon Cordoba lobbed fellow Colombian David Ospina from 40 yards.

Striker Olivier Giroud planted a header wide of goal from six yards for the much-changed home side, who were booed at the half-time whistle.

But substitute Sead Kolasinac equalised with a thumping volley before Sanchez struck, and Hector Bellerin then added the third from close range, as midfielder Jack Wilshere made his first appearance for the club since August 2016.

In Group H's other game, Red Star Belgrade drew 1-1 against BATE Borisov.

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How FC Cologne fans (briefly) took over London

The importance of Alexis

Forward Sanchez scored 30 goals in all competitions for Arsenal last season as they won the FA Cup.

But in August, he almost joined former boss Pep Guardiola at Manchester City for £60m, but the Gunners pulled out of the deal after failing to find a replacement.

Sanchez made his second start of the season in an impressive showing, capping his performance with a sublime effort in the second half - his first goal of the season against the Bundesliga's bottom side.

He could have scored another two, but struck a free-kick straight at Horn and shanked wide from inside the area.

Forgotten man Wilshere, who spent last season on loan at Bournemouth before suffering a broken leg, came on for Alex Iwobi on 68 minutes, and the England international's clever dummy was instrumental in the lead-up to Bellerin's goal.

20,000 does not fit into 2,900

Cologne fans
Cologne fans had been given a ticket allocation of 2,900 but 20,000 fans travelled over from Germany

Cologne, like Arsenal, finished fifth in their domestic league last season, achieving European football for the first time in 25 years.

The Bundesliga club's return to European competition, though, was one tainted by controversy.

There were indications on Thursday afternoon that problems may occur, with more than 20,000 fans arriving from Germany, despite the visitors receiving an allocation of 2,900 tickets.

Videos emerged on social media of the German side's support briefly bringing parts of central London to a standstill as they threw bottles and let off flares while making their way to the ground.

The kick-off was then put back, after which skirmishes between fans and stewards took place, while many had entered the ground into the home end, climbing barriers to get into the away section.

A number of Arsenal fans inside texted BBC Football, with one supporter reporting that they felt "intimidated by the horrible, tense atmosphere", another that they were "ashamed of Arsenal for not seeing the warning signs" and a third describing it as "the worst feeling at football in 40 years of watching".

It remains to be seen whether Uefa charges are brought against one or both sides.

Thursday night fright

Jhon Cordoba
Jhon Cordoba (right) scored from around 40-yards out

Arsenal had finished in the Premier League's top four in each of Arsene Wenger's 20 seasons in charge of the club until last term.

May's fifth-place finish meant missing out of Europe's elite club competition and an entry into the secondary tier, where they have not played since 2000.

On that occasion, after finishing third in their Champions League group, they made it all the way to the Uefa Cup final before being beaten by Turkish side Galatasaray on penalties in Copenhagen.

French boss Wenger said finishing in the Premier League's top four was their best route of getting back into the Champions League and so he left out many of his first-team players for the game against Cologne, instead giving those on the fringes an opportunity.

But goalkeeper Ospina suffered a dreadful start, rushing off his line and failing to get distance on a clearance which fell to the feet of Leonardo Bittencourt, who laid it off to Cordoba.

The striker took a touch, spun and curled a sublime, long-range effort over the head of Ospina and into the net.

Petr Cech's understudy made up for his error by saving well off Cordoba low down in the second half and collecting a vicious drive from Milos Jojic as his side turned the game around.

Man of the match - Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)

Alexis Sanchez
Sanchez scored his first goal in the Europa League... and what a goal it was

No hierarchy in the squad - Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, speaking to BT Sport: "We had a slow start and there was accidental goal. After that, it was important not to concede and panic and put more pace into our game. From then. we controlled the game and won convincingly in the end.

"I think Sanchez is still running after his best form. He is a fantastic football player but physically he has just come back. But he has it in his locker to do something special, which he did.

"We want to do well in all the best competitions and I had an experienced team today, even though I made nine changes. They are all top-class players. There is no hierarchy in the squad."

Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin: "It is a new competition for us so we had to set the tone. We think we are one of the best teams in the competition so we have to show that on the pitch.

"I am very happy with the victory. We were ready to play at 20:05 BST but these things happen. We started a bit with cold feet but after that it just worked."

What next?

Arsenal face London rivals and Premier League champions Chelsea on Sunday (kick-off 13:30 BST), while Cologne will look to pick up their first points in the Bundesliga when they travel to Borussia Dortmund on the same day (kick-off 17:00 BST).

Classy Kolasinac - the stats

  • This was Arsenal's first European match outside of the Champions League (including qualifiers) since May 2000 - 17 years and 120 days ago.
  • Cologne lost a competitive game that they were winning at half-time for the first time since December 2014 (1-2 v Augsburg).
  • Arsene Wenger has registered a win over 57 different clubs during his tenure as Arsenal manager (from 64 teams faced).
  • Alexis Sanchez has scored seven goals in his last eight competitive appearances for Arsenal.
  • Hector Bellerin scored his first European goal in his 16th appearance in European competition.
  • Sead Kolasinac has played a part in four goals (two goals, two assists) in five appearances for Arsenal (including Community Shield).
  • Kolasinac's goal was the 200th scored at home in European competition under Wenger - 125 scored at the Emirates, 69 at Highbury and eight at Wembley.

Line-ups

Arsenal

  • 13Ospina
  • 16HoldingSubstituted forKolasinacat 45'minutes
  • 4Mertesacker
  • 18Monreal
  • 24Bellerín
  • 35El Neny
  • 17IwobiSubstituted forWilshereat 68'minutes
  • 30Maitland-Niles
  • 14WalcottSubstituted forNelsonat 82'minutes
  • 12Giroud
  • 7Sánchez

Substitutes

  • 10Wilshere
  • 20Mustafi
  • 22Reine-Adelaide
  • 31Kolasinac
  • 32Akpom
  • 54Macey
  • 61Nelson

Köln

  • 1Horn
  • 24KlünterSubstituted forOsakoat 76'minutes
  • 22Meré
  • 3Heintz
  • 34Rausch
  • 33Lehmann
  • 11ZollerSubstituted forRisseat 65'minutes
  • 6Höger
  • 14HectorSubstituted forJojicat 35'minutes
  • 21Bittencourt
  • 15Córdoba

Substitutes

  • 4Sörensen
  • 7Risse
  • 8Jojic
  • 13Osako
  • 18Kessler
  • 19Guirassy
  • 23Horn
Referee:
Javier Estrada Fernández
Attendance:
59,359

Match Stats

Home TeamArsenalAway TeamKöln
Possession
Home72%
Away28%
Shots
Home16
Away10
Shots on Target
Home7
Away4
Corners
Home5
Away3
Fouls
Home6
Away11

Live Text

Match ends, Arsenal 3, 1. FC Köln 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Arsenal 3, 1. FC Köln 1.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Jorge Meré.

Offside, 1. FC Köln. Yuya Osako tries a through ball, but Konstantin Rausch is caught offside.

Attempt blocked. Leonardo Bittencourt (1. FC Köln) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jhon Córdoba.

Attempt missed. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Reiss Nelson.

Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Marco Höger (1. FC Köln).

Offside, 1. FC Köln. Yuya Osako tries a through ball, but Jhon Córdoba is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Reiss Nelson replaces Theo Walcott.

Goal!

Goal! Arsenal 3, 1. FC Köln 1. Héctor Bellerín (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal.

Attempt saved. Theo Walcott (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Sead Kolasinac.

Attempt blocked. Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Jorge Meré.

Attempt saved. Milos Jojic (1. FC Köln) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jhon Córdoba.

Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Leonardo Bittencourt (1. FC Köln).

Offside, Arsenal. Jack Wilshere tries a through ball, but Alexis Sánchez is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, 1. FC Köln. Yuya Osako replaces Lukas Klünter.

Attempt saved. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Marcel Risse (1. FC Köln).

Corner, 1. FC Köln. Conceded by David Ospina.

Attempt saved. Jhon Córdoba (1. FC Köln) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Matthias Lehmann.

Offside, Arsenal. Mohamed Elneny tries a through ball, but Theo Walcott is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Marcel Risse (1. FC Köln) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Leonardo Bittencourt with a cross.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Jack Wilshere replaces Alex Iwobi.

Goal!

Goal! Arsenal 2, 1. FC Köln 1. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Alex Iwobi.

Foul by Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Arsenal).

Marco Höger (1. FC Köln) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, 1. FC Köln. Marcel Risse replaces Simon Zoller.

Offside, 1. FC Köln. Timo Horn tries a through ball, but Jhon Córdoba is caught offside.

Attempt saved. Leonardo Bittencourt (1. FC Köln) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Jhon Córdoba.

Sead Kolasinac (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Lukas Klünter (1. FC Köln).

Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Marco Höger (1. FC Köln).

Attempt missed. Theo Walcott (Arsenal) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Héctor Bellerín with a cross.

Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Lukas Klünter (1. FC Köln).

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Thursday 14th September 2017

  • Austria ViennaAustria Vienna1AC MilanAC Milan5
    FT
  • AtalantaAtalanta3EvertonEverton0
    FT
  • ArsenalArsenal3Köln1. FC Köln1
    FT
  • Slavia PragueSlavia Prague1Maccabi Tel-AvivMaccabi Tel-Aviv0
    FT
  • VillarrealVillarreal3FC AstanaFC Astana1
    FT
  • Dynamo KievDynamo Kiev3SkenderbeuSkenderbeu1
    FT
  • Young BoysYoung Boys1Partizan BelgradePartizan Belgrade1
    FT
  • Istanbul BasaksehirIstanbul Basaksehir0LudogoretsLudogorets Razgrad0
    FT
  • Hoffenheim1899 Hoffenheim1Sporting BragaSporting Braga2
    FT
  • HNK RijekaHNK Rijeka1AEK AthensAEK Athens2
    FT
  • Apollon LimassolApollon Limassol1LyonLyon1
    FT
  • FC CopenhagenFC Copenhagen0Lokomotiv MoscowLokomotiv Moscow0
    FT
View all 24 Europa League results

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Villarreal11003123
2Slavia Prague11001013
3Maccabi Tel-Aviv100101-10
4FC Astana100113-20

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Dynamo Kiev11003123
2Partizan Belgrade10101101
3Young Boys10101101
4Skenderbeu100113-20

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Sporting Braga11002113
2Istanbul Basaksehir10100001
3Ludogorets10100001
4Hoffenheim100112-10

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1AC Milan11005143
2AEK Athens11002113
3HNK Rijeka100112-10
4Austria Vienna100115-40

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Atalanta11003033
2Lyon10101101
3Apollon Limassol10101101
4Everton100103-30

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1FC Copenhagen10100001
2Lokomotiv Moscow10100001
3Sheriff Tiraspol10100001
4Zlín10100001

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Steaua Bucharest11003033
2Hapoel Be'er Sheva11002113
3Lugano100112-10
4Viktoria Plzen100103-30

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Arsenal11003123
2BATE Borisov10101101
3Red Star Belgrade10101101
4Köln100113-20

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Marseille11001013
2RB Salzburg10101101
3Vitória Guimarães10101101
4Konyaspor100101-10

J

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Östersunds FK11002023
2Ath Bilbao10100001
3Hertha Berlin10100001
4Zorya Luhansk100102-20

K

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Nice11005143
2Lazio11003213
3Vitesse100123-10
4SV Zulte Waregem100115-40

L

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Zenit St Petersburg11005053
2Real Sociedad11004043
3Rosenborg100104-40
4Vardar100105-50
View full Europa League tables

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