Giroud reaches century as Arsenal win in Belarus

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Soccer Football - Europa League - BATE Borisov vs Arsenal - Borisov Arena, Barysaw, Belarus - September 28, 2017 Arsenal's Theo Walcott celebrates scoring their first goal.

PARIS – Olivier Giroud got his 100th Arsenal goal as a youthful Gunners side beat BATE Borisov 4-2 in Belarus in the Europa League on Thursday.

Theo Walcott netted twice for the Premier League side and Rob Holding was also on target as they eased to a second victory in as many matches in Group H.

 

Arsene Wenger's side beat Cologne 3-1 at home in their first outing a fortnight ago, and the Germans lost again on Thursday, going down 1-0 at home to Red Star Belgrade.

Wenger made nine changes to the Arsenal team after they travelled to eastern Europe on the back of a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Monday.

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Only Shkodran Mustafi and Mohamed Elneny kept their places, while a number of youngsters featured with Joe Willock being handed a first senior start.

It was two comparative veterans who combined for Arsenal's early opener, though, with Jack Wilshere setting up Walcott to head in from close range.\

 

Walcott made it 2-0 midway through the first half after an awful error by BATE goalkeeper Denis Scherbitski, who miscued a clearance straight to the England forward.

Holding then bundled in his first Arsenal goal but a superb header by Mirko Ivanic allowed the Belarusian champions to pull one back before the half-hour.

 

Holding and Willock hit the woodwork and Giroud converted from the penalty spot early in the second half, becoming the 19th player to reach a century of goals for Arsenal.

That was not the end of the scoring, though, as Mikhail Gordeichuk got the hosts' second of the night, converting the follow-up after David Ospina saved from Ivanic.

Arsenal next go to Serbia to face a Red Star side whose winner in Germany was scored by Ghanaian international Richmond Boakye.

 

In other early kick-offs on Thursday, Marseille lost 1-0 away to Salzburg in Austria in Group I while Athletic Bilbao and Hertha Berlin both lost in Group J.

Felipe Caicedo and Ciro Immobile were both on target as Lazio defeated the Belgians Zulte-Waregem 2-0 in Group K.

In the same section, Alassane Plea scored twice and Allan Saint-Maximin found the net in stunning style after collecting possession deep in his own half as Nice beat Vitesse Arnhem of the Netherlands 3-0 in a game interrupted for around 15 minutes due to floodlight failure.

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Former UEFA Cup winners Zenit St Petersburg were 3-1 winners at home to Real Sociedad in Group L with Russian international Alexander Kokorin scoring twice.

Later games include Everton, beaten at Atalanta on matchday one, at home to Apollon Limassol of Cyprus and AC Milan up against Croatian champions Rijeka.