Football: Lens, humiliated by Arsenal, see their Champions League dreams swept away

Lens said goodbye to the Champions League after the complete rout at Arsenal (6-0) on Wednesday 29 November. Crushed by the Gunners, Franck Haise's men remain hopeful of qualifying for the Europa League.

Kai Havertz opened the scoring during Arsenal's 6-0 win over Lens in the Champions League on November 29, 2023. AFP - IAN KINGTON

By: Yohann Le Coz Follow


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The first leg between Lens and Arsenal at the beginning of October was a feat for the Sang et Or. This Wednesday night's game in London was a return to earth. Underground, even, since the Artesian club is officially eliminated from the Champions League after its very heavy defeat (6-0) against the Gunners. With five points, they can no longer hope to clinch one of the two qualifying places in Group B for the knockout stages.

After an initial run by Kai Havertz, to place a header that flirted with Brice Samba's post (11′), just to warn Franck Haise's men of what awaited them, Lens' dreams collapsed. The German striker beat Samba from close range, with the tip of his foot, following a header from Gabriel Jesus in the heart of an apathetic defence.

Lens never had the means

The score was open, the ordeal had only just begun. After a timid attempt at rebellion, the Sang et Or were punished by Bukayo Saka who feasted on a shot from Gabriel Martinelli that was poorly saved by the Lens goalkeeper. Bukayo Saka added a layer to make it three and Martinelli had fun on the right wing before cutting in and hitting to make it four, with only the 27th minute played.

Five minutes before the break, Facundo Medina unleashed a shot from 25 yards out that crashed off the post. A sign that tonight, and for the rest of the season, the Champions League was going to shun Lens. To drive the point home, Martin Odegaard volleyed into the back of Samba's net. Five goals in one half, that's what separates the second in Ligue 1 2022/2023 edition and the top level of the track with the stars.

Well, words are running out of words here...

5-0 for Arsenal at half-time against Lens 🔴 #ARSRCL | #UCL

— CANAL+ Foot (@CanalplusFoot) November 29, 2023

There were no outbursts in the second half, especially almost. Massadio Haidara was almost shown a red card for a dangerous tackle. Then, Arsenal, on several occasions, almost made the score worse before Jorginho completed the humiliation from the penalty spot (87'). Before Tuesday night, when the almost 3,000 fans flocked to the Emirates Stadium, Lens almost believed it.

Reality has caught up with the little thumb of this group B. But the idea of giving Bollaert a European season is not dead yet. To do so, they will have to get at least a draw at home against Sevilla, who are currently bottom of the group, to finish in third place.

Results of the 5th day

Tuesday, November 28

Group E

SS Lazio-Celtic FC 2-0

Feyenoord Club-Atlético de Madrid 1-3

Group F

AC Milan-Borussia Dortmund 1-3

Paris Saint-Germain-Newcastle United FC 1-1

Group G

Manchester City-RB Leipzig 3-2

BSC Young Boys-FK Crvena Zvezda 2-0

Group H

FC Shakhtar Donetsk-Royal Antwerp FC 1-0

FC Barcelona-FC Porto 2-1

Wednesday, November 29

Group A

Galatasaray AS-Manchester United 3-3

FC Bayern Munich-FC Copenhagen 0-0

Group B

Sevilla FC-PSV Eindhoven 2-3

Arsenal FC-RC Lens 6-0

Group C

SC Braga-1. FC Union Berlin 1-1

Real Madrid CF-SSC Napoli 4-2

Group D

Real Sociedad de Futbol-FC Salzburg 0-0

Benfica-Inter Milan 3-3

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