Alexandre Lacazette scores for Arsenal in friendly win over Sydney FC
New Arsenal signing Alexandre Lacazette took only 15 minutes to score on his first outing in an Arsenal shirt as he helped his new side complete a 2-0 friendly victory over Sydney FC
New signing Alexandre Lacazette took only 15 minutes to score on his first outing in an Arsenal shirt as he helped to complete a 2-0 friendly victory over Sydney FC.
The £52.7m club-record signing from Lyon was introduced by Arsène Wenger as a 68th-minute substitute in a position just behind Olivier Giroud and showed some neat early touches, dropping deep to link up play and involving his new team-mates as often as possible.
But it was his impact in the 83rd minute that will have pleased Wenger and the club’s fans, with the forward timing a run into the box impeccably before connecting crisply with the ball to steer home Alex Iwobi’s low cross from the right.
Arsenal’s first goal came from an unlikely source, with the centre-back Per Mertesacker bundling the ball home with a hooked overhead kick from a Mesut Özil corner that the hosts failed to deal with.
The match, watched by 80,000 fans at the ANZ Stadium, would have ended 3-0 to Arsenal but for a fine save from Andrew Redmayne from a second-half Danny Welbeck penalty.
Arsenal played with purpose throughout as Özil and Theo Walcott stretched Sydney’s defence but struggled with the the final ball. The lively 17-year-old Reiss Nelson was a handful on the right flank while fellow young debutant Joe Willock slalomed through Sydney’s defence.
But the hosts sparked just before the break as Petr Cech denied a marauding Josh Brillante, before Matt Simon turned the rebound into the outside of the back post. Sydney spun into action in the second half and substitute Christopher Zuvela forced replacement Arsenal goalkeeper Emi Martinez into a sharp save.
Wenger then executed a 10-man substitution in the 68th minute, which led to a disjointed period of play before Lacazette’s sharp finish.
Before the match, Sydney FC confirmed that their right-back Rhyan Grant will be sidelined for most of the new A-League season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament.
Grant, who was a key part of Sydney’s record-breaking premiership-championship double, went down during a routine passing drill in training this week and will require surgery on his left knee. The injury comes four years after the 26-year-old had suffered the same injury to his opposite knee.