Karl Hein made another penalty save and Martin Odegaard scored a contested brace as Arsenal beat AC Milan to win the Dubai Super Cup on Tuesday.
With Liverpool losing to Lyon in their first game of the Dubai Super Cup, Arsenal had the chance to win the mid-season tournament by beating AC Milan on Tuesday.
Even a draw and a win on penalties would have been enough, but three points would secure the cup before the shootout – a shootout that takes place regardless of the result in this competition.
Arsenal started a strong senior side, with World Cup internationals Thomas Partey and Ben White returning to the side for the first time.
Karl Hein started in goal, with Rob Holding, Gabriel Magalhaes, and Kieran Tierney in defence alongside White. Albert Sambi Lokonga and Martin Odegaard joined Partey in midfield, with a front three of Fabio Vieira, Reiss Nelson, and Eddie Nketiah.
Yet Milan dominated the early proceedings, and when Arsenal took the lead, it was against the run of play. The Gunners won a free-kick in a rare foray forward, and Martin Odegaard stepped up to curl it in for 1-0.
Marvelløus 🚀 pic.twitter.com/WsWeHbu5xD
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 13, 2022
Arsenal very much improved after that, but Milan had the next big chance, with Divock Origi heading wide from a great position.
After that, the Gunners doubled their lead, with Fabio Vieira finding Reiss Nelson, who delayed his shot before finishing via a deflection.
Unfortunately for Nelson, replays revealed that it was actually Odegaard who deflected the shot. You can see him look apologetically towards Nelson afterwards.
🤩 Fábio's movement
💫 Reiss with the finish pic.twitter.com/r69hqvPqYw
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 14, 2022
Though Arsenal credited Nelson with the goal, any competitive competition would give it to Odegaard. You can make your own mind up on that one.
White and Partey came off at half-time for Cedric Soares and Mohamed Elneny, completing 45 minutes just as every other player has in their first game back.
Odegaard nearly scored the most bizarre hat trick in the second half, deflecting an Elneny long shot with his head, but it sailed just over.
With 13 minutes left, Fikayo Tomori pulled one back for Milan, scoring a header from a free-kick.
Arsenal then brought on a few of the youth players to see the game out, and they eventually did so, winning 2-1 and securing the Dubai Super Cup mathematically.
With three points for a win, two for a draw, and one bonus point for winning the penalty shootout, Lyon, AC Milan, and Liverpool can’t finish the group on more than four points. Arsenal have eight.
Despite the result of the match and the tournament being decided, there was still a penalty shootout to play for a bonus point. Arsenal had the chance to secure a perfect eight points from their two games with a win.
The responsibility in the shootout largely fell to the remaining senior players, with Cedric, Gabriel Magalhaes, Marquinhos (his second penalty goal of the tournament), and Elneny all scoring.
Matt Smith had scored in the Lyon shootout, but he saw his effort saved this time around.
Fortunately, Karl Hein once again provided the heroics, saving from former Manchester City man Brahim Diaz, before going the right way as Rade Krunic missed the target with the decisive spot-kick.
Arsenal took the bonus point and added a little gloss to their tournament victory.
Arsenal vs AC Milan highlights
Dubai Super Cup Group standings
Dubai Super Cup Fixtures and Results
- Arsenal 3-0 Lyon (2-1 on penalties)
- Liverpool 1-3 Lyon (3-5 on penalties)
- Arsenal 2-1 AC Milan (4-3 on penalties)
- Friday, December 16th, 15:30: Liverpool vs AC Milan