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Arsenal outgunned by Olympiacos
Published : 06 Dec 2011 22:16:59
Arsenal ended their Champions League Group F campaign with a 3-1 defeat at Olympiacos - but the Greeks missed out on the knockout stages.
Despite qualification and top spot already secure before the clash in Athens, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger - taking charge of his 200th European tie - will have expected better. Defensive lapses again proved costly as the English side trailed 2-0 at the break.
Rafik Djebbour slotted home a loose ball on 16 minutes, before substitute goalkeeper Vito Mannone - on for the injured Lukasz Fabianski - made a hash of his clearance as David Fuster made it 2-0 on 36 minutes. Yossi Benayoun slotted home a consolation on 57 minutes before Francois Modesto secured victory with a minute left.
However, with Marseille producing a late rally to win at Borussia Dortmund, it was not enough to see the Greeks through to the last 16.
Olympiacos had the lead on 16 minutes when Andrey Arshavin failed to break after a quick throw from Fabianski.
The ball was worked back up to Fuster, with neither Johan Djourou nor Sebastien Squillaci able to cut out the Spaniard's first-time pass. That released Djebbour into the left side of the Arsenal penalty box, where he rounded the keeper to slot in from a tight angle.
Fabianski had to be carried off on a stretcher after 25 minutes, replaced by 23-year-old Italian Mannone - whose last appearance was on loan at Hull in April. And Mannone's blunder handed Olympiacos a second on 36 minutes.
The Italian had initially done well to race out to the edge of his area to head clear under pressure from Kevin Mirallas - only to then make a complete hash of attempting to scissor-kick the ball clear, thinking he was not yet back in the box, when it was returned over him by Fuster and bounced into the net.
Arsenal pulled a goal back on 57 minutes when substitute Ignasi Miquel's floated cross was chested down by Marounae Chamakh and Benayoun lashed the ball into the far corner.
Mannone produced another good reaction save to deny Mirallas from close range, before Modesto slotted home with a minute left after Olof Mellberg's header hit the post. However, with Marseille producing a late rally to win 3-2 in Germany, it was not enough for the Greek side to advance to the knockout phase.