Arsenal u19s lost to their Olympiacos counterparts in the UEFA Youth League on Wednesday, but have narrowly managed to advance to a play-off round.
The Gunners went into the game knowing that anything but a defeat by three or more goals would be enough to go through, seeing as Bayern Munich beat Dinamo Zagreb earlier in the afternoon.
A strong side was missing Alex Iwobi and Jeff Reine-Adelaide, but still featured the likes of Dan Crowley, Krystian Bielik, Ben Sheaf, Julio Pleguzuelo and Chris Willock. Attacking players Stephy Mavidid and Donyell Malen also started, but Arsenal struggled to create anything and were under pressure from the early stages.
Olympiacos had a flowing move finished off by Giorgios Manthatis after just 11 minutes, and the game was essentially one-way traffic from then. It was Manthatis’ third UEFA Youth League goal of the season.
A second goal was added by Dimosthenis Chantzaras shortly before half-time, as he latched onto a smart through ball after Crowley had cheaply surrendered possession.
Bringing on Savvas Mourgos, Reiss Nelson and Tyrell Robinson made no difference for the Gunners, but losing just 2-0 was enough to go into the play-off round by the skin of their teeth.
With Arsenal tied on 10 points with Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos, the results of the three sides were looked at as a round robin, and were marginally enough to send Arsenal through instead of the Greek side.