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Sanchez on target as Arsenal beat Cologne 3 hours after original scheduled kick-off time

Jhon Córdoba gave the visitors an early lead, with a sublime finish from distance..

Image: Kirsty Wigglesworth

Updated at 23.15

ALEXIS SANCHEZ SCORED a stunning goal as Arsenal came from behind to beat Cologne 3-1 in a Europa League clash on Thursday that was delayed for an hour due to crowd trouble.

Kick-off in the Group H opener at the Emirates Stadium was put back until 9:05pm local time (2005 GMT) in the interests of “crowd safety” after problems caused by thousands of ticketless Cologne supporters arriving at the ground.

Police confirmed four arrests were made before kick-off while there were reports of scuffles inside the stadium.

However, when the match did get under way, those travelling fans who got in were treated to a stunning 40-yard strike by Jhon Cordoba that put Cologne ahead with Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina caught out of his area.

Arsenal improved in the second half and substitute Sead Kolasinac volleyed them level before a brilliant goal by Sanchez gave them a 67th-minute lead.

The Chilean cut in from the left flank before curling a sublime effort into the far top corner, and the three points were secure when Hector Bellerin made it 3-1 late on after Theo Walcott’s effort had been saved by Timo Horn.

“The win, and coming back from losing, obviously gives you a boost. Now we’ll train hard in the coming days to be ready for the weekend,” Bellerin, whose side go to Chelsea on Sunday, told BT Sport.

Arsene Wenger’s side are next in European action in a fortnight in Belarus against BATE Borisov, who drew 1-1 at Red Star Belgrade.

Results in the first round of group games in the 2017/18 Europa League on Thursday:

Group A

Slavia Prague (CZE) 1 (Necid 12) Maccabi Tel Aviv (ISR) 0

Villarreal (ESP) 3 (Sansone 16, Bakambu 75, Cheryshev 77) Astana (KAZ) 1 (Logvinenko 68)

Group B

Young Boys (SUI) 1 (Fassnacht 14) Partizan Belgrade (SRB) 1 (Jankovic 11)

Dynamo Kiev (UKR) 3 (Sydorchuk 47, Junior Moraes 49, Mbokani 65-pen) Skenderbeu (ALB) 1 (Muzaka 39)

Group C

Istanbul Basaksehir (TUR) 0 Ludogorets (BUL) 0

Hoffenheim (GER) 1 (Wagner 24) Braga (POR) 2 (Joao Carlos 45+1, Dyego Sousa 50)

Group D

Rijeka (CRO) 1 (Elez 29) AEK Athens (GRE) 2 (Mantalos 16, Christodoulopoulos 62)

Austria Vienna (AUT) 1 (Borkovic 47) AC Milan (ITA) 5 (Calhanoglu 7, Andre Silva 10, 20, 56, Suso 63)

Group E

Apollon Limassol (CYP) 1 (Sardinero 90+3) Lyon (FRA) 1 (Depay 53-pen)

Atalanta (ITA) 3 (Masiello 27, Gomez 41, Cristante 44) Everton (ENG) 0

Group F

Copenhagen (DEN) 0 Lokomotiv Moscow (RUS) 0

Zlin (CZE) 0 Sheriff Tiraspol (MDA) 0

Group G

FCSB (ROU) 3 (Budescu 21-pen, 44, Alibec 72) Viktoria Plzen (CZE) 0

Hapoel Beer Sheva (ISR) 2 (Einbinder 2, Tzedek 60-pen) Lugano (SUI) 1 (Tzedek 67-og)

Group H

Arsenal (ENG) 3 (Kolasinac 49, Sanchez 67, Bellerin 82) Cologne (GER) 1 (Cordoba 9)

Red Star Belgrade (SRB) 1 (Radonjic 54) BATE Borisov (BLR) 1 (Signevich 72)

Group I

Vitoria Guimaraes (POR) 1 (Pedrao 25) Salzburg (AUT) 1 (Valon Berisha 45)

Marseille (FRA) 1 (Rami 48) Konyaspor (TUR) 0

Group J

Hertha Berlin (GER) 0 Athletic Bilbao (ESP) 0

Zorya (UKR) 0 Ostersund (SWE) 2 (Ghoddos 50, Gero 90+4)

Group K

Vitesse Arnhem (NED) 2 (Matavz 33, Linssen 57) Lazio (ITA) 3 (Parolo 51, Immobile 67, Murgia 75)

Zulte Waregem (BEL) 1 (Leya Iseka 46) Nice (FRA) 5 (Plea 16, 20, Dante 28, Saint-Maximin 69, Balotelli 74)

Group L

Real Sociedad (ESP) 4 (Llorente 9, 77, Zurutuza 10, Skjelvik 41-og) Rosenborg (NOR) 0

Vardar (MKD) 0 Zenit (RUS) 5 (Kokorin 6, 21, Dzyuba 39, Ivanovic 66, Rigoni 89)

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