Giroud's hat trick leads Arsenal to Champions League knockout stage

Wednesday December 9th, 2015

Arsenal entered Wednesday's Champions League group finale with a simple task but one not simple to execute: Win at Olympiakos by two goals (or win by one while scoring at least four goals). Thanks to Olivier Giroud, the Gunners did just that.

Giroud's hat trick kept Arsenal's streak of reaching the knockout stage alive, with the Premier League side winning 3-0 in Greece to progress as the second-place team from Group F behind Bayern Munich.

Arsenal had lost three of its first four league matches, leaving minimal hope for advancement, but a 3-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb coupled with Olympiakos's 4-0 loss to Bayern in the penultimate group matches opened the door for Arsene Wenger's charges.

Giroud began the process on Wednesday by scoring in the 29th minute, getting on the end of an Aaron Ramsey pass to head home the opener.

He scored the vital goal in the 49th, combining with Costa Rica international Joel Campbell, whose beautiful ball threaded the Olympiakos defense inside the box and found Giroud in a scoring position, where he put Arsenal up 2-0.

He finished off his hat trick by converting a 67th-minute penalty after an Olympiakos handball gifted Arsenal a spot kick.

The next task for Arsenal: Proceeding past the last 16, a round in which the Gunners have been knocked out in each of the last five years.

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