Football | Arsenal too strong for Dundalk at the Emirates
Arsenal have beaten Dundalk 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium in the Europa League.
The Lilywhites held firm for the opening 40 minutes, before two goals in two minutes from Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock turned the game on its head.
Nicolas Pépé extended Arsenal's lead to 3-0 with a brilliant goal a minute into the second half, as the Gunners claimed a comfortable victory in Group B.
Dundalk had the best chance of the opening half hour, with Patrick McEleney testing Arsenal debutant goalkeeper Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson with a powerful low strike from distance.
Rúnarsson tipped the ball around the post, and that was as close as the visitors came to an away goal in North London.
Andy Boyle and Brian Gartland defended brilliantly at the heart of the under-pressure Dundalk defence, and Arsenal struggled to create chances for the majority of the first half.
Nketiah opened the scoring for Mikel Arteta's men in the 42nd minute, pouncing from close range after Gary Rogers failed to connect with a punch in an attempt to clear a corner.
Two minutes later, a blocked Pépé shot fell kindly to Willock at the back post, with the young midfielder controlling the ball calmly before lifting a clinical finish into the roof of the net.
A minute into the second half, Pépé controlled the ball beautifully on the edge of the box, rolling it on to his right foot and unleashing a brilliant finish into the top corner.
The Gunners pushed hard to extend their lead as the game wore on, but the Lilywhites defended determinedly, without creating any notable chances of their own.
Filippo Giovagnoli’s side have now lost their two opening games in Group B, following last week's defeat to Molde at Tallaght Stadium.
Next up for the Irish club in Europe is a trip to Austria to take on Rapid Vienna, with the Lilywhites facing St. Patrick's Athletic in the league this weekend.
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