Ludogorets Razgrad 2, Arsenal 3: Qualification not enough, top spot is the aim, Arsene Wenger tells victorious Gunners

 
Ross McLean
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Mesut Ozil netted Arsenal's late winner (Source: Getty)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger implored his side to claim top spot in Champions League Group A after the Gunners sealed their passage to the knockout stages with a gritty comeback against Ludogorets Razgrad.

The visitors were facing an uphill battle after only 15 minutes as goals from Jonathan Cafu and Claudiu Keseru sent shockwaves through the Arsenal camp, only for Granit Xhaka, Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil in the latter stages to calm their nerves.

With qualification secure with two games to spare, Arsenal can all but guarantee finishing as group winners and claiming a potentially smoother tie in the last-16 with victory over second-placed Paris Saint-Germain on 23 November.

“I believe the hardest thing is to be consistent at the top level, but hopefully we can now go further in the competition,” said Wenger, whose side have lost in the round of 16 for the past six campaigns.

“We need to maintain the quality of our results until the match against Paris Saint-Germain and then hopefully we will be in a position to finish top of the group.”

Arsenal were rocked on 12 minutes when winger Cafu guided Wanderson’s free-kick beyond David Ospina, while the gloom deepened for the Gunners moments later as Cafu’s low cross was steered home by Keseru.

Arsenal retaliated and halved their deficit after 20 minutes when Xhaka swept past Ludogorets goalkeeper Milan Borjan. A soaring Giroud levelled matters shortly before the break, while victory was conjured by Ozil with three minutes remaining as he scooped the ball over the advancing Borjan before outwitting two defenders and stroking home.