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Zvezda make a point

Crvena zvezda Belgrade battled hard to a point at Arsenal in the Europa League Group H match. There were no goals, but it was an eventful match where the Belgrade team needed a bit more composure to make the most of the created chances and grab what would be a huge win.

Ground: Arsenal Stadium
Attendance: 40,000 (estimated)
Referee: Luca Banti (Italy)


Arsenal: Macey, Debuchy, El Neny, Holding, Nelson, Willock, Coquelin, Maitland-Niles, Walcott, Wilshere, Giroud.
Substitutes: Čech, Osei-Tutu, Akpom, Da Silva, McGuane, Nketiah, Sheaf.

Crvena zvezda: Borjan, Stojković, Le Tallec, Savić, Gobeljić, Donald, Krstičić, Kanga, Srnić, Radonjić, Boakye.
Substitutes: Supić, Frimpong, Babić, Račić, Milić, Adžić, Pešić.

Vladan Milojević fielded his usual team with Marko Gobeljić slotting in at left back for the suspended Milan Rodić. Home manager Arsène Wenger made just one change from the team that faced Crvena zvezda in the reversed fixture with Matt Macey replacing Petr Čech in goal.

As expected, home team enjoyed most of the possession and the Belgrade team defended bravely and looking to hit The Gunners on the break.

After a confident start, our players seem to have lost their focus in a 20-minute period in the first half that led to a number of dangerous Arsenal attacks. Thankfully, Milan Borjan did well to keep Olivier Giroud out with the French striker in a good position to open the scoring.

Milojević's men grew in confidence as the minutes passed and they looked very dangerous on the counter-attack with Nemanja Radonjić and Slavoljub Srnić causing problems with their runs. Zvezda's good spell deserved a goal and it came close on 38 minutes when Vujadin Savić headed across the goal following a corner. The ball looked certain to go in, but Matt Macey's got a touch to it and push it on to the crossbar. It was so close!

But still wasn't Zvezda's best chance of the half. Just before the break, Guélor Kanga played Richmond Boakye clear on goal, but the Ghanaian got it all wrong and put it wide when he should have scored.

Wenger's team looked determined to finally take the lead in the second half, but were denied by some fine defending. Our French defender Damien Le Tallec produced one of the best goal line clearances when he acrobatically kept a Jack Wilshere effort out.

It wasn't Boakye's night as he put another good chance wide late on.

Milojević sent Milić, Račić and Pešić on in the final 20 minutes, but there were no goals despite Arsenal trying to put Crvena zvezda under some late pressure.

The game ended with 0-0 the score with the loud away fans celebrating with the players after the final whistle. It was a good European test for our team and they delivered an energetic performance with many positives. It's certainly something to build on.

Elsewhere in Group H Cologne beat FC BATE 5-2 at RheinEnergie Stadion to return to the race for the second place. Arsenal secured qualification to the knockout stage with Zvezda currently in second.





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