SYDNEY, Australia — Club record signing Alexandre Lacazette scored shortly into his Arsenal debut in a 2-0 defeat of A-League champions Sydney FC on Thursday.
Arsenal dominated the entire match before 80,432 spectators at the Olympic stadium. The English Premier League side, making its first appearance in Sydney in 40 years, plays Western Sydney Wanderers in the same stadium on Saturday, with a similar near-sellout crowd expected.
Last week, Arsenal paid French club Lyon 60 million euros ($68 million) to sign Lacazette, one of the French league’s most prolific scorers in recent years.
The 26-year-old Frenchman, who came on as a substitute in the 68th minute, scored in the 83rd minute.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) July 13, 2017
After coach Arsene Wenger made 10 substitutions, the French striker wasted no time settling into his new No. 9 shirt, reading a swift attack and timing a run into the box to perfection to side-foot home a goal.
"It’s important he gets that off his shoulders," Wenger said. "Because we expect strikers to score. You could see that he was happy."
Captain Per Mertesacker hooked in an overhead kick in the fourth minute from a corner to give Arsenal the lead.
Sydney FC goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne pressed his case for a starting spot this season for the defending A-League champions. Redmayne, who had a trial at Arsenal for two weeks as a teenager, made several good saves, stopping a Danny Welbeck penalty in the first half.
Lacazette, who scored a personal best tally of 28 league goals last season, also reached the 100 league goals mark for Lyon and 129 overall since coming through the club’s youth academy and making his debut during the 2009-10 season.