7 Dec 2016

Arsenal top group as PSG slip

11:48 am on 7 December 2016

Arsenal have topped their group following the penultimate day of Champions League group matches.

Arsenal players celebrate a goal.

Arsenal players celebrate a goal. Photo: BBC

Arsenal's Spanish striker Lucas Perez seized his chance to shine with a hat-trick as they outclassed Basel 4-1 away to steal first place in Group A from Paris St Germain.

The Gunners enter the last 16 as group winners for the first time since 2011 and at least know they cannot face favourites Barcelona, who won their group, in the first knockout round.

Lucas, making only his fifth start since joining from Deportivo La Coruna in August, struck twice from close range inside 16 minutes.

He netted again two minutes after the break to become only the sixth Arsenal player to score a hat-tick in the competition.

Alex Iwobi made it 4-0 after 53 minutes and it could have been even better for Arsenal as Alexis Sanchez rattled the crossbar with a fizzing free kick.

The St Jakob-Park crowd finally had something to warm them on a cold night when substitute Doumbia flicked in a consolation goal after a skilful turn in the area.

Arsenal topped the group with 14 points because PSG, on 12, were surprisingly held 2-2 at home by Bulgarians Ludogorets who qualify for the Europa League last 32 at the expense of Basel.

PSG would have guaranteed top spot had they won but instead had to snatch a last-gasp equaliser from Angel Di Maria.

Arsenal finished with 14 points from their six games ahead of PSG on 12, Ludogorets - who qualify for the Europa League last 32 - with three points and Basel on two.

Arsenal will play a group runner-up in the last 16, but that could still be a team like Bayern Munich or Real Madrid.

Fellow English Premier League side Manchester City, who had already qualified drew with Scottish champions Celtic, while Spanish giants Barcelona, who've also advanced, beat German side Borussia Monchengladbach 4-nil.

Italian club Napoli beat Portugese side Benfica 2-1 with both teams going through to the last 16.