Arsenal 5 Benfica 1: It’s the Yaya Sanogoal Show
Emirates (Emirates Cup)
Arsenal 5 (Sanogo 26′, 45′, 45′, 49′, Campbell 40′) – Benfica 1 (Gaitan 61′)
Following the hilarious own-goal infested 2-2 draw between Valencia and AS Monaco, it was Arsenal’s turn to bask the Emirates sunshine with Benfica set in their sights. Arsene Wenger’s lineup had a mix of youth and experience as Damian Martinez, Hector Bellerin, Calum Chambers, Joel Campbell, Ox and Yaya Sanogo forming the youthful section while old hags like Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini rode the experienced train.
Early on Rosicky fashioned a chance for Campbell that bore down on goal before he was impeded in the box but his penalty appeals fell on deaf ears. Bellerin managed to skip past his marker and sent an inch-perfect cross to Sanogo but the lanky Frenchman miscued his shot and it went wide of the mark. Arsenal’s woes were almost compounded when Nacho Monreal, in the spirit of the No. 18 jersey, attempted to score an own goal but the ball went wide.
However the match opener arrived when Aaron Ramsey used his incredible skill to get the ball in his stride before drilling a cross that was flicked home by Sanogo. That was his first goal in Arsenal’s colors, albeit a non-competitive game, but it was a moment to savor nonetheless.
Arsenal doubled their money when Bellerin teed up Campbell with another peach of a cross and the Costa Rican forward side footed the ball beyond the hapless goalie. Some intricate passing play between Ramsey and the Ox ended up with Campbell having a golden opportunity to score his second goal but his finish didn’t match the exciting build-up. However, Campbell was involved in creating a good chance for Sanogo that tapped the ball into an unguarded net to make it three. Sanogo then completed a scintillating hat-trick when he fought hard to get to Ramsey’s cross to make it four.
Wenger brought on Cazorla at the start of the second half but Arsenal picked up where they left off at halftime with Ramsey blasting a shot that was parried into the path of Sanogo that fired the ball into the net to make it five. A player had not scored for the club since joining but somehow he had managed to blitz four goals in a game.
Wenger brought on some reinforcements as Jack Wilshere replaced Ramsey among other subs. However, Benfica managed to get a consolation goal when Maxi Pereira pelted the ball into the danger area and Nicolas Gaitan reacted quickly to Bebe’s header to nod the ball past Martinez.
With Sanogo’s confidence higher than Sergy Bubka’s Olympic pole vault record, he attempted an unorthodox dribble as he skipped past three to four men before sending the ball into the heart of the Benfica defense. Wenger then summoned Alexis Sanchez that got a massive ovation when he stepper into the pitch.
Late on, Bebe had a couple of close shaves from free kicks while Maxi Pereira blasted a shot that hit the post. Arsenal’s last chance arrived when Cazorla and Sanchez connected well on the right and the Chilean’s cut back was fired goalwards by Francis Coquelin but the ball clipped the post and crept away.
At the end, it was purely entertaining stuff from the Gunners but the star of the day was undoubtedly Yaya Sanogoal, that inspired the fans with one hell of a show.
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