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Gunners' belief will just keep growing says Arsenal duo, Ramsey and Giroud

Ludogorets 2 Arsenal 3

BY robert jones

Published 02/11/2016

Final act: Mesut Ozil sends the Gunners into the last 16
Final act: Mesut Ozil sends the Gunners into the last 16

Arsenal duo Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud believe the comeback 3-2 victory at Ludogorets is a tribute to their strong recent form as they secured their place in the knockout phase of the Champions League with two games to spare.

The Gunners found themselves 2-0 down within the first 15 minutes through strikes from Jonathan Cafu and Claudiu Keseru before Granit Xhaka and Giroud, who was starting for the first time this season, restored parity before the break.

The comeback was complete when Mesut Ozil scored three minutes from time to secure victory and a place in the last 16 - and both men hailed the mentality of the squad.

Ramsey said: "We showed great character and belief to get back into the game.

"We got the goals before half-time and that helped the team-talk.

"They have some top quality in their team and caught us with two counter-attacks and we paid the price for that but we never gave up.

"We are on a strong run at the moment and it was important to keep the momentum going and come through with a win."

Speaking on just his second start of the season, the Welshman added: "That's what I needed - to start a game and get minutes under my belt and it will put me in good shape now.

"It was a tough game but an enjoyable one and I'm delighted to be back."

Giroud echoed his team-mate's words, adding: "It was tough tonight, we expected a tough game and knew it wasn't going to be easy but we kept trusting in our game and it was a good evening for us.

"We are on a strong run and we want to keep it up and keep the momentum - but it is still the beginning of the season.

"We really want to finish first and the PSG game will be massive."

The Gunners host the French champions on November 23.

Boss Arsene Wenger said: "You wanted Mesut Ozil to take his chance earlier, but in the end he shows he has enough skill to prove he was right.

"I believe the hardest thing is to be consistent at the top level, but hopefully we can now go further (in the competition).

"We need to maintain the quality of our results until the match against Paris St-Germain and then hopefully we will be in a position to finish top of the group."

Giroud has now scored five of Arsenal's last eight goals away from home in the Champions League.

And Germany midfielder Ozil's four goals in his last two Champions League games are more than he registered in his first 22 appearances in the competition for Arsenal (3).

Ludogorets: Borjan, Minev, Palomino, Moti, Natanael, Abel, Dyakov, Cafu, Marcelinho, Wanderson, Keseru (Misidjan, 80 mins). Unused subs: Stoyanov, Cicinho, Sasha, Quixada, Plastun, Lukoki.

Arsenal: Ospina, Jenkinson, Mustafi, Koscielny, Gibbs, Coquelin, Xhaka (Elneny, 87 mins), Ramsey (Oxlade-Chamberlain, 75 mins) Ozil, Sanchez (Iwobi, 90 mins), Giroud. Unused subs: Cech, Gabriel, Holding, Maitland-Niles.

Referee: Bas Nijhus (Holland)

Man of the match: Mesut Ozil

Match rating: 8/10

Belfast Telegraph

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