Friday, December 12, 2014

Gedion Zelalem plays for Arsenal in Champions League match

(Dec 12, 2014, (Washington Post))--For anyone other than Arsenal’s supporters, the second half of the Gunners’ Champions League Group D finale at Galatasaray on Tuesday carried little appeal. Arsenal had already clinched a berth in the knockout stage and pumped in three goals during the first half in Istanbul.

International teen: Gedion Zelalem of Germany and Arsena (Getty Images)
There was, however, a touch of drama in the making: Would Arsene Wenger summon Gedion Zelalem, the 17-year-old midfielder with Ethiopian roots, a German birthplace and U.S. upbringing? Zelalem typically plays for Arsenal’s under-19 squad, but without the usual Champions League urgency against last-place Galatasaray, Wenger carried six teenagers on his bench.

At the start of the second half, Zelalem trotted onto the field for his first competitive first-team match since an FA Cup affair against Coventry City last January.

Zelalem looked comfortable in the center of the park, confident and integrated during a largely uneventful second half. Arsenal won the match, 4-1, and finished level with Borussia Dortmund with a 4-1-1 record but second on goal differential. The round-of-16 draw is Dec. 15. Play will begin in mid-February. Read more from The Washington Post »

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