Champions League
Dinamo ZagrebDinamo Zagreb2ArsenalArsenal1

Dinamo Zagreb 2-1 Arsenal

By Mandeep SangheraBBC Sport
Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud is dismissed against Dinamo Zagreb
Giroud was sent of after 40 minutes against Dinamo Zagreb

Olivier Giroud was sent off for Arsenal as they lost at Dinamo Zagreb in their opening Champions League game.

The Gunners went behind after a Josip Pivaric shot was saved by keeper David Ospina but rebounded in off Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Giroud was then sent off for a second booking when he fouled Ivo Pinto before Junior Fernandes headed in for Dinamo.

Theo Walcott superbly slotted in to give Arsenal hope but the home side nervously held on for the win.

Walcott had scored a hat-trick at the same Maksimir Stadium for England against Croatia in 2008 but, despite pulling one back, he could not repeat such heroics.

Dinamo held on to extend their unbeaten run to 42 games as they won against an English top-flight side for the first time in the Champions League.

Oh dear Olivier

France striker Olivier Giroud has been criticised for not being clinical enough in front of goal and he only added weight to that argument against the Croatian champions.

He had a free header from a corner palmed away by Dinamo keeper Eduardo and, when he saw another effort come off a post, Giroud failed to sidefoot in the rebound as the home stopper smothered his point-blank shot.

The Arsenal forward's frustration got the better of him when he was booked for dissent after his reaction to the referee blowing for a foul against him.

It proved crucial as he was then sent off for a second bookable offence when he caught Pinto with a late challenge after 40 minutes, as Arsenal's failure to sign a striker in the summer transfer window again came into focus.

Dinamo Zagreb's first goal against Arsenal
The graphic shows how Dinamo Zagreb found a way through Arsenal to score their opening goal

Behind the eight ball

Arsenal lost their opening game of last season's Champions League when they were beaten 2-0 by Borussia Dortmund, but recovered in a group also comprising Galatasaray and Anderlecht.

This time they face a more difficult task to make it past the group stages and keep alive their hopes of winning the competition for the first time.

The Gunners host Olympiakos next before home and away fixtures against German giants Bayern Munich.

Bayern are one of the favourites to win the competition and beat Olympiakos 3-0 as they moved to the top of Group F.

Caught out on the counter attack

Dinamo might have been the home team but they employed the tried and tested philosophy of playing on the counter-attack to try to beat Arsenal.

The Croatian champions soaked up Arsenal's pressure and, after the Gunners failed to take their chances, took the lead.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger made six changes from the side which beat Stoke, including dropping keeper Petr Cech and holding midfielder Francis Coquelin to the bench.

Wenger might have had Saturday's game against Chelsea, who beat Maccabi Tel Aviv in their opening Champions League game, in mind but the move backfired.

Villain of the match

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud
Olivier Giroud is the fourth Frenchman to be sent off for Arsenal in the Champions League, after Gilles Grimandi, Bacary Sagna and Patrick Vieira

Manager reaction:

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told BT Sport: "The first yellow [for Giroud] is a foul for us and the second is an accident. They got away with obvious fouls many times. We have to take it on the chin.

Giroud red card was harsh - Wenger

"We have enough games to come back. We have to focus to win our next home game and I'm sure we can beat Zagreb at home."

Dinamo Zagreb coach Zoran Mamic: "I was secretly hopeful we could perform a miracle as I knew how my boys had been working, living and concentrating on the task. I was not afraid it would be a catastrophe for us as I knew we would be physically up to their level.

"This is a huge reason for us to celebrate."

The stats you need to know

  • Dinamo Zagreb were winless in 15 Champions League games proper before beating Arsenal, with their last win against Sturm Graz in September 1999 (3-0).
  • Arsenal are playing in the Champions League for the 18th consecutive season, only Real Madrid (19) can boast a longer current streak.
  • Croatian champions Zagreb have never previously qualified from the group stage in their four previous attempts.
  • Last season, Zagreb became the first team to go through a Croatian top-flight campaign unbeaten.

What next?

Arsenal next play Chelsea in the Premier League in the 12:45 BST kick-off this Saturday.


Dinamo Zagreb

Formation 4-3-3

  • 34Dos Reis Carvalho
  • 6PintoBooked at 65mins
  • 22Sigali
  • 87Taravel
  • 19Pivaric
  • 10Machado
  • 16Ademi
  • 8AntolicBooked at 47minsSubstituted forRogat 82'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 2Soudani
  • 20PjacaSubstituted forBenkovicat 88'minutes
  • 11FernandesSubstituted forCoricat 74'minutes


  • 1Jezina
  • 9Henríquez
  • 15Hodzic
  • 24Coric
  • 26Benkovic
  • 30Rog
  • 77Matel


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 13Ospina
  • 2Debuchy
  • 5Gabriel
  • 6Koscielny
  • 3GibbsSubstituted forCampbellat 65'minutesBooked at 87mins
  • 19Cazorla
  • 8ArtetaSubstituted forCoquelinat 64'minutes
  • 15Oxlade-ChamberlainSubstituted forWalcottat 64'minutes
  • 11Özil
  • 17Sánchez
  • 12GiroudBooked at 40mins


  • 14Walcott
  • 18Monreal
  • 20Flamini
  • 21Chambers
  • 28Campbell
  • 33Cech
  • 34Coquelin
Ovidiu Hategan

Match Stats

Home TeamDinamo ZagrebAway TeamArsenal
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Dinamo Zagreb 2, Arsenal 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Dinamo Zagreb 2, Arsenal 1.

  3. Post update

    Attempt saved. Ante Coric (Dinamo Zagreb) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Joel Campbell (Arsenal).

  5. Post update

    Josip Pivaric (Dinamo Zagreb) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Attempt missed. Gabriel Paulista (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez with a cross following a corner.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Filip Benkovic.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Gabriel Paulista (Arsenal).

  9. Post update

    Jérémy Taravel (Dinamo Zagreb) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Post update

    Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Paulo Machado (Dinamo Zagreb).

  12. Booking

    Marko Rog (Dinamo Zagreb) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  13. Post update

    Joel Campbell (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Marko Rog (Dinamo Zagreb).

  15. Post update

    Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Soudani (Dinamo Zagreb).

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Dinamo Zagreb. Filip Benkovic replaces Marko Pjaca.

  18. Booking

    Joel Campbell (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Joel Campbell (Arsenal).

  20. Post update

    Marko Pjaca (Dinamo Zagreb) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Wednesday 16th September 2015

As It Stood


1Real Madrid11004043
3Malmö FF100102-20
4Shakhtar Donetsk100104-40


1PSV Eindhoven11002113
3Man Utd100112-10
4CSKA Moscow100101-10


1Atl Madrid11002023
3FC Astana100102-20


3Man City100112-10
4B Mgladbach100103-30


1B Leverkusen11004133
4BATE Borisov100114-30


1Bayern Munich11003033
2Dinamo Zagreb11002113


2FC Porto10102201
3Dynamo Kyiv10102201
4Maccabi Tel-Aviv100104-40


1Zenit St Petersburg11003213
3KAA Gent10101101
View full Champions League tables

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