Arsenal slumped to a 1-0 defeat at BATE Borisov in the first leg of the Europa League’s round of 32 on Thursday, while crosstown rival Chelsea shook off its recent struggles with a 2-1 win at Malmo.
Alexandre Lacazette’s late sending off completed an evening to forget for Arsenal in Belarus. The French forward was shown a straight red card in the 85th minute for lashing back in frustration at Aleksandar Filipovic with his elbow, catching the Serbian defender in the face. Lacazette will miss the second leg in London on Feb. 21.
Arsenal dominated possession but was stunned just before the break when Stanislav Dragun got his head to Borisov captain Igor Stasevich’s dangerous free kick. Dragun sent the ball looping over the helpless Petr Cech and inside the far post.
It was Borisov’s first goal in four Europa League knockout ties.
Arsenal had started well but failed to make the most of early chances. Lacazette headed over from close range, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan missed another good opportunity.
SARRI NOT SORRY
After watching his side crumble in a 6-0 defeat at Premier League rival Manchester City on Sunday, Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri was looking for a response in Malmo.
Ross Barkley got the visitors on their way on the half-hour mark after a fine cross from Pedro, and Olivier Giroud sealed it with his heel after some good work from Willian before the hour-mark.
Sarri brought on Eden Hazard for the final 20 minutes but instead it was Anders Christiansen who claimed a late goal for the home side.
Still, after recent setbacks, a win will provide welcome relief for Sarri.
Due to the Swedish league schedule, Malmo hadn’t played a competitive fixture since beating Besiktas away on Dec. 13.