Joel Campbell looked right at home Wednesday on the field of his former club, Greece’s Olympiakos, as he helped his current squad Arsenal take a 2-0 lead in the final round of Champions League group stages.
In the 49th minute of the match in Athens, Campbell brought down a long pass in the box, danced around a pair of defenders and then threaded a gorgeous pass between the Olympiakos defense to lead Olivier Giroud to his second of three goals in the 3-0 win. With the decisive win, Campbell and Arsenal now advance to the Round of 16 in the Champions League, the noted football tournament played annually among Europe’s best clubs.
The beautiful effort from the 23-year-old Costa Rican comes one game after he scored the first goal in Saturday’s English Premier League match against Sunderland. That marked just his second ever goal for Arsenal, after scoring his first goal for the Gunners on Oct. 31 in Champions League play.
Following a quiet first half on Wednesday, the Tico striker dominated the second half as he was constantly pushing the ball deep into Olympiakos territory. Minutes after the assist on the game’s second goal, Campbell nearly came right back with what would have been a second assist in the 55th minute when he launched a pretty volley into the center of the box that was eventually denied.
Campbell played with Olympiakos on loan from Arsenal during the 2013-2014 season, where he scored eight goals in 32 games for the Greek club. He was treated to a standing ovation from his former fans when he exited the pitch in a 90th minute substitution.
Heading into the game, Olympiakos held a three-point advantage over the Gunners in Group F, so a loss or tie would have eliminated Arsenal from the Champions League. Instead, the crucial win classifies Campbell and the English Premier club for the elimination rounds that kick off in February.
Fellow Costa Rican Keylor Navas could meet Campbell in the Champions League elimination rounds, as Real Madrid already won Group A with a 5-1-0 record.