Arsenal (4) 1-2 (2) Ostersunds: Gunners survive early scare to progress despite embarrassment

Arsenal progressed to the round of 16 of the Europa League despite a first half scare that saw the Swedish underdogs take a 2-0 lead.

Arsenal (4) 1-2 (2) Ostersunds: Gunners survive early scare to progress despite embarrassment
Kolasinac's volley crushed Ostersund's chances of a European upset. (Photo credit: Getty Images)
Arsenal
1 2
Ostersunds
Arsenal: Ospina; Bellerin, Chambers, Holding, Kolasinac; Elneny, Maitland-Niles (Xhaka, 45th min), Mkhitaryan, Wilshere (Willock, 76th min), Iwobi (Nelson, 90th min); Welbeck
Ostersunds: Keita; Mukiibi (Islamovic, 73rd min), Papagiannopoulos, Pettersson, Widgren; Aiesh (Tekie, 52nd min), Edwards, Nouri, Sema; Ghoddos, Hopcutt
SCORE: 1-2 Aiesh (22nd min) Sema (23rd min) Kolasinac (47th min)
REFEREE: Referee: Ivan Kruzliak (SVK) Booked: Maitland-Niles (43rd min), Mkhitaryan (87th min), (Widgren, 90th min)
INCIDENTS: Europa League match between Arsenal and Ostersunds.

Arsenal booked their spot in the last 16 of the Europa League despite claiming their second home loss of the season against Swedish side Ostersunds FK.

The game didn’t go exactly to plan for the Gunners, as Arsene Wenger’s side went 2-0 down just 23 minutes in after conceding two goals in 69 seconds, conjuring up fears that Arsenal could be eliminated from the Europa League.

However, a Sead Kolasinac volley two minutes into the second half gave Arsenal breathing room in the game, and the Gunners were able to seal out a vital win to proceed to the round of 16.

Arsenal lose focus

The Swedish underdogs started the second-leg the brightest side, with Graham Potter’s side unwilling to sit back and soak up the predictable Arsenal dominance. Despite being newbies to European football, Ostersunds asserted themselves early on, and the front two of Saman Ghoddos and Jamie Hopcutt caused the Gunners defence problems.

An away goal had been coming and 22 minutes in the first blood was drawn as Hosam Aiesh fired Ostersunds ahead. A lack of concentration at the back from Rob Holding allowed the Jordanian winger to slip in down the right wing, and burst towards the goal, and from there it was an easy goal for the midfielder as he slotted the ball under David Ospina.

From moderately passable to scary

Things went from moderately passable to scary for Arsenal in a matter of minutes, as Ostersunds doubled their lead two minutes after going ahead at the Emirates, as Ken Sema made it 2-0 to the visitors.

Straight from the restart the Gunners lost possession of the ball, allowing Ghoddos to lob the ball up the field and into the path of Sema, where the winger ran straight at goal, and brilliantly curled the ball around Ospina, to turn the Swedish side’s fortunes completely around.

Kolasinac fires Arsenal back in

Arsenal needed a response following a disastrous first half, and respond they did as Kolasinac fired the Gunners ahead two minutes after the restart.

A great counter-attack down the right flank saw Hector Bellerin whip in a great ball into the Ostersunds area, and despite flying through a wall of players, the ball found the path of Kolasinac, and the Bosnian fullback smashed the ball past the reach of Aly Keita to give Arsenal a big advantage.

The goal completely turned the tide of the game, as Ostersunds failed to make the most of the remaining time in the second half, allowing Arsenal to seal the tie at the Emirates to progress into the round of 16.