(REUTERS)-Arsenal’s Spanish striker Lucas Perez seized his chance to shine with a Champions League treble as they outclassed Basel 4-1 away to steal the Group A top spot from Paris St Germain yesterday.The Gunners enter the last 16 as group winners for the first time since 2011 and at least know they cannot face favourites Barcelona, who won their group, in the first knockout round.Lucas, making only his fifth start since joining from Deportivo La Coruna for about 17 million pounds ($21.55 million)in August, struck twice from close range inside 16 minutes.He netted again two minutes after the break to become only the sixth Arsenal player to score a hat-tick in the competition.Alex Iwobi made it 4-0 after 53 minutes and it could have been even better for Arsenal as Alexis Sanchez rattled the crossbar with a fizzing free kick.The St Jakob-Park crowd finally had something to warm them on a cold night when substitute Doumbia flicked in a consolation goal after a skilful turn in the area.Arsenal topped the group with 14 points because PSG, on 12, were surprisingly held 2-2 at home by Bulgarians Ludogorets who qualify for the Europa League last 32 at the expense of Basel.PSG would have guaranteed top spot had they won but instead had to snatch a last-gasp equaliser from Angel Di Maria.COMMITTED PERFORMANCE“I thought Ludogorets were a good side — they made a great result that helps us top the group, which was what we wanted,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said.“We did the job in a convincing way, we were mobile and overall had a committed performance.“I think (Lucas) Perez took advantage of the fact we created good chances – he is a goalscorer you know, he has shown tonight he has a good smell for the goal.”Lucas’s only goals since joining Arsenal were a brace in a League Cup win over Nottingham Forest in September, since when he has rarely featured because of an ankle injury.It did not take him long to double that tally though as Arsenal tore into their hosts.Lucas opened the scoring after eight minutes when Sanchez’s chipped pass found Kieran Gibbs and his low cross was missed by Eder Balanta, giving the Spaniard the easiest of tap-ins.Eight minutes later Arsenal were cruising when Gibbs’ cross-shot was parried by keeper Tomas Vaclik and Lucas swept home following a move involving 33 passes – the most in the build-up to a goal so far in this season’s competition.Basel captain Matias Delgado wasted a chance to halve the deficit shortly before halftime with a wayward header.Vaclik was then unable to keep out Lucas’s shot two minutes after the break as the Arsenal striker emulated Mesut Ozil’s hat-trick in a 6-0 home win against Ludogorets in October.Iwobi’s close-range goal was his first in Europe.
Published on September 24, 2018 at 11:16 pm Contact Eric: firstname.lastname@example.org | @esblack34 Facebook Twitter Google+ Hugo Delhommelle dribbled the ball to the left of the goal just outside the penalty box as he scanned for options. The senior, who’d already assisted on Syracuse’s lone goal of the game, spotted Ryan Raposo streaking down the field on the other side of the box undetected by the Colgate defenders. Delhommelle’s service was perfect, finding Raposo’s right foot as the freshman midfielder wound up for the potential game-winning shot.He’d gotten too much underneath the ball, though, sending it just above the crossbar of the goal. The ball flew into the netting behind the goal and fell to the ground innocently. Raposo landed just inside the penalty box and fell to the ground in despair.For the second straight game, the Orange (3-3-1, 0-2-0 Atlantic Coast) failed to find a spark on offense and missed out on numerous opportunities despite outshooting its opponent. SU tried different formations and rotations and even introduced new players to the lineup, but all of its attempts to get something going offensively failed. It took a goal in the 77th minute by a defender, Sondre Norheim, for Syracuse to salvage a draw against the Raiders (4-1-4, 0-0-1 Patriot).“We need to be able to score goals anytime,” Delhommelle said. “That’s what we’re missing right now…Because we have the opportunities, every single game we out-shoot teams. That means something.”As opposed to Friday’s loss against Virginia in which the Orange played the Cavaliers even in the first half and dominated in the second, Syracuse had control throughout the game on Monday. A 5-3 lead in shots after halftime increased to a 13-9 advantage by the end of the game, but aside from Norheim’s goal, SU came up empty time after time.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse head coach Ian McIntyre suggested that the Orange wasn’t at 100 percent after Friday’s game, leading him to make changes to his rotations.“These are tough games to turn around,” McIntyre said about Monday games following Friday contests. “We weren’t firing on all cylinders. We got some tired legs.”Fifteen minutes into the game, Djimon Johnson moved to the backline to add a fourth defender to the lineup on the field. Fifteen minutes later, three substitutions were made, one of which was Julio Fulcar, who made his college debut.Fulcar failed to record a stat but provided the Orange with fresh legs, something that was just as meaningful on Monday.“Getting fresh feet on the pitch is always a good way to bring energy to the game,” Norheim said. “(We) needed energy in our attacks.”Syracuse’s fatigue from the weekend meant Norheim’s goal to tie was that much more important after falling behind early like the Orange has been prone to do this season. Considering the fact that the sophomore is a defender and normally not an attacking player, the goal is only magnified.It came off a set piece on the left half of the field and another accurate free kick set-up by Delhommelle. Norheim set up near the far post just outside the six-yard box and barely had to move, heading the ball just enough to change its direction into the back of the net.It was the pinnacle of what McIntyre believed was an ‘outstanding’ day for Norheim, who played all 110 minutes.“Being next to him, seeing him flying forward,” Delhommelle explained, “I said, ‘Okay, go ahead Sondre. Go have fun. I’ve got your back.’”Norheim’s play was certainly the main takeaway from the contest and may very well be expected moving forward as he transitions into more of an attacking role. But it’s likely one of the only positives the Orange can take from Monday’s game.After ‘outplaying’ its opponent but failing to capture the win for the second-straight game, Syracuse is still looking to find consistency as the season reaches its midpoint. Positives looking back at the past couple games are scarce, but the Orange is optimistic looking forward.“We just need this click during the season,” Delhommelle said. “I thought today would have been the day. We’re still looking for it, but it’s gonna come.” Comments