Lacazette sees red as Arsenal are beaten in Belarus
Gunners suffer embarrassing Europa League defeat in frustrating first leg of tie against BATE Borisov
14 February, 2019 — By Steve Barnett
Last 32 First Leg
BATE BORISOV 1 (Dragun 45)
ARSENAL 0 (Lacazette sent off 85)
BELEAGUERED Arsenal suffered an embarrassing defeat in Belarus tonight (Thursday) as BATE Borisov eked out a 1-0 first-leg lead in the Europa League round of 32.
The only goal of the game came on the stroke of half-time when Stanislav Dragun brushed off Sead Kolasinac to head home Igor Stasevich’s inswinging free-kick.
A frustrating night for the north Londoners went from bad to worse five minutes from time when Alexandre Lacazette was sent off for elbowing Aleksandar Filipovic.
Unai Emery’s side will still be favourites to qualify for the next round – but they can’t afford any more slip-ups when the two sides meet again at the Emirates Stadium next Thursday for the second leg. Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown, who was covering the game for BT Sport, said it was the club’s worst game under Emery so far.
“It was as poor as I can remember, certainly under Emery,” he said. “Arsenal just didn’t have the penetration. They were so sloppy.
“They had so much possession but there was too many stray passes. The pitch is not an excuse. That’s a very disappointing result.”
The Gunners made a bright start at the Borisov Arena and should have been ahead within 90 seconds. Alex Iwobi picked out Kolasinac, who sent in a dangerous low cross for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but the Armenian’s instinctive shot was well blocked by Borisov keeper Denis Shcherbitski. Lacazette also spurned a golden opportunity to open the scoring as he headed over from six yards.
With the teams preparing to go in at the break, the deadlock was suddenly broken. Nacho Monreal gave away a silly free-kick, which was whipped in by skipper Stasevich, whose inch-perfect cross was powered into the roof of the net by Dragun.
It was the first goal that Arsenal have conceded in the Europa League since matchday one against Vorskla Poltava, ending a run of five games and an impressive 495 minutes.
The visitors thought that they had found an equaliser in the second half when Kolasinac picked out Lacazette, who in turn picked out the back of the net. But the celebrations were halted by an offside flag.
BATE BORISOV: Shcherbitski, Filipovic, Rios, Filipenko, Volkov, Dragun, Hleb (Berezkin, 58), Baga, Skavysh (Moukam, 80), Stasevich, Milic (Dubajic, 69).
Substitutes not used: Chichkan, Bessmertny, Yablonski, Simovic.
ARSENAL: Cech, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Maitland-Niles (Aubameyang, 68), Xhaka (Torreira, 69), Guendouzi, Kolasinac (Suarez, 74), Mkhitaryan, Iwobi, Lacazette.
Substitutes not used: Leno, Lichtsteiner, Elneny, Nketiah.