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 after crowd trouble sparked by ticketless traveling supporters.
After the chaos settled down, the away fans had all to cheer when Jhon Cordoba’s stunning 40-yard strike caught Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina out of his area for a shock lead.
But an improved Arsenal levelled after the restart when substitute Sead Kolasinac volleyed home, before wantaway star Sanchez curled in a peach of a goal to give them the lead in the 67th-minute.
Hector Bellerin made the the three points secure when he fired in the rebound after Timo Horn had saved Theo Walcott’s effort.
Arsene Wenger’s men return to European action in a fortnight in Belarus against BATE Borisov, who drew 1-1 at Red Star Belgrade.
Everton’s poor form continued into Europe as their group-stage campaign got off to a disastrous start in a 3-0 defeat to Atalanta.
Returning to Europe after a 26-year absence – the Serie A side were forced to entertain their English visitors in Reggio Emilia, a two-hour drive south of their base in Bergamo, but they still overran their beleaguered visitors courtesy of first-half goals from Andrea Masiello, Alejandro Gomez and Bryan Cristante.
The Toffees’ next Group E match will be at home to Apollon Limassol, the Cypriot side who snatched a 1-1 draw with Lyon on Thursday.
Elsewhere, Italian giants AC Milan underlined their status as one of the early favourites by romping to a 5-1 victory at Austria Vienna in Group D with summer signing Andre Silva scoring a hat-trick.
Hoffenheim, who beat Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga last weekend, suffered a 2-1 defeat at home to Portuguese side Braga, while Mario Balotelli netted as Nice won 5-1 at Zulte-Waregem.