Didier Drogba returned to haunt Arsenal as the Ivory Coast striker scored both goals in Galatasaray’s 2-1 victory in the Emirates Cup on Sunday.
Drogba made a habit of scoring against Arsene Wenger’s team when he was at Chelsea and, after appearing as a halftime substitute, his strikes overturned Theo Walcott’s first-half opener and ensured the Turkish team won the four-team pre-season tournament.
Wenger’s men paid the price at the Emirates Stadium for failing to make the most of early pressure and Drogba’s contribution highlighted just why Wenger is trying to add Liverpool striker Luis Suarez to his squad.
With the pursuit of Suarez having so far failed, despite Arsenal making a bid of more than ￡40 million (US$61 million) for the Uruguay international, France under-20 striker Yaya Sanogo is the only pre-season addition to Wenger’s squad.
Sanogo’s inclusion in the starting lineup attracted much of the attention following Wenger’s claims the youngster was a “top class” striker, who would surprise many this season and the former AJ Auxerre youngster was handed an immediate opportunity to make an impression when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain dispossessed Semih Kaya and picked out his unmarked teammate in the visitors’ penalty area.
Sanogo made room for a left-foot shot, but was unable to find a way past Fernando Muslera, Galatasaray’s Uruguayan goalkeeper.
The youngster again found himself free inside the Galatasaray area shortly before halftime following an intricate passing move and was spared by the offside flag after his tame shot had again been saved by Muslera.
In between those openings Arsenal largely dominated the first half, appearing sharper than they had in a 2-2 draw against SSC Napoli the previous day.
A strong appeal for a penalty was turned down when Aaron Ramsey went tumbling early on, before Walcott failed to make the most of a 19th-minute opportunity after being picked out by an accurate long ball from Ramsey.
Walcott controlled the ball well to take him away from Albert Riera, but his clip over the advancing Muslera drifted just wide.
However, fortune was on Walcott’s side when he made the 39th-minute breakthrough.
Finding himself in space on the left flank, Walcott whipped in a right-footed cross that drifted between Muslera and the Galatasaray defenders, before creeping inside the far post.
Arsenal’s halftime lead was deserved, but the introduction of Drogba and Wesley Sneijder at the interval lifted the visitors, who immediately looked more threatening as Nordin Amarabat forced Wojciech Szczesny into a save at his near post.
Olivier Giroud appeared for Arsenal in place of Sanogo and twice forced saves from Muslera, but Drogba was always likely to make his presence felt and the forward struck his 78th-minute spot-kick past Szczesny after going to ground following the slightest of touches from young Arsenal defender Ignasi Miguel.
The Ivort Coast international — who scored 15 goals in 15 appearances for Chelsea against Arsenal — sealed the victory with an excellent piece of one-touch control and a fine left-foot finish in the 87th minute.
Earlier, Porto had romped to a 3-1 victory over Rafael Benitez’s SSC Napoli.
Goran Pandev had given Napoli a 43rd-minute lead from the penalty spot, but Benitez’s side were unable to hold on.
Second-half goals from Nabil Ghilas and Lica, either side of an own-goal by Federico Fernandez, did the damage for Porto.