Arsenal into last 32 with win at Molde

Reiss Nelson scored Arsenal’s second goal on 55 minutes

Nicolas Pepe put his red card against Leeds United behind him with the opening goal against Molde as Arsenal secured their place in the last 32 of the Europa League.

The Ivory Coast forward curled a powerful strike into the top corner after a difficult week following his dismissal at Elland Road.

Reiss Nelson doubled the Gunners’ lead shortly after with a tap-in from close range as Arsenal progressed to the knockout stage with two games to spare.

Substitute Folarin Balogun, 19, scored with his first touch to cement victory for Mikel Arteta’s side in Norway.

The North London side have won all four games in Group B and scored 12 goals in the process, displaying a consistency that is in contrast to their Premier League campaign.

After a bright but scoreless first half, £72m signing Pepe found the net for the Gunners in a style befitting his price tag.

A lovely cushioned touch set the 25-year-old up to fire home past goalkeeper Andreas Linde and put Arsenal on their way to last 32.

The Gunners quickly increased their advantage when Nelson, Arsenal’s best player along with Pepe, tapped home after a good pass into the box by Joe Willock.

A comfortable win was completed when Balogun swivelled in the penalty area and fired home a low strike to cap off a positive performance by Arteta’s side.

With qualification to the knockout stage secured, the focal point for Arsenal in Europe will be the return of a small number of supporters to Emirates Stadium for the tie against Rapid Vienna on 3 December.

The club tweeted before the game in Norway: “It’s been a long nine long months without our fans. And our matches simply haven’t been the same. So we’re delighted to confirm we’ll be safely welcoming 2,000 fans back to Emirates Stadium for next week’s #UEL fixture.”

More to follow.

Line-ups

Molde

  • 1Linde
  • 20Wingo
  • 6GregersenSubstituted forKnudtzonat 85′minutes
  • 5Sinyan
  • 3RisaSubstituted forHolmgren Pedersenat 82′minutes
  • 17Aursnes
  • 16HussainSubstituted forBollyat 61′minutes
  • 19Hestad
  • 7Wolff EikremSubstituted forBrynhildsenat 81′minutes
  • 11Ellingsen
  • 10JamesSubstituted forOmoijuanfoat 61′minutes

Substitutes

  • 9Moström
  • 12Craninx
  • 14Knudtzon
  • 15Christensen
  • 22Brynhildsen
  • 26Ranmark
  • 27Holmgren Pedersen
  • 30Bolly
  • 99Omoijuanfo

Arsenal

  • 13Rúnarsson
  • 17Cédric Soares
  • 20Mustafi
  • 23David LuizSubstituted forHoldingat 45′minutes
  • 15Maitland-Niles
  • 19Pépé
  • 28WillockSubstituted forTierneyat 75′minutes
  • 34XhakaSubstituted forCeballosat 62′minutes
  • 24Nelson
  • 9LacazetteSubstituted forSmith Roweat 75′minutes
  • 30NketiahSubstituted forBalogunat 82′minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Bellerín
  • 3Tierney
  • 8Ceballos
  • 16Holding
  • 32Smith Rowe
  • 33Macey
  • 38Balogun
  • 41Cottrell
  • 44Hein
  • 66Azeez

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