Ozil shines on return as Arsenal crush PSG in Singapore

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Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil (R) celebrates with teammate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after scoring during the International Champions Cup football match between Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain in Singapore on July 28, 2018. / AFP

SINGAPORE, July 28: Mesut Ozil enjoyed a successful return to action at the end of a tumultuous week as the German midfielder scored the opening goal for Arsenal in a 5-1 victory over a makeshift Paris St Germain side in a pre-season friendly in Singapore on Saturday.
Ozil sensationally quit the national side on Sunday citing “racism and disrespect” for his Turkish roots as he bore the brunt of criticism following Germany’s disastrous World Cup, but he looked relaxed and focused against the French champions.
Arsenal fielded a strong team with Ozil installed as captain and the Premier League side soon took control against weakened opposition, given the time and space they will not be afforded when the domestic campaign kicks off in August.
The German did not need long to stamp his authority on the contest, side-footing past a stranded Gianluigi Buffon in the 13th minute after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had raced clear down the right and sent a pinpoint low cross into Ozil’s path.
The Gunners were utterly dominant and should have added to their tally, but Buffon showed the brilliance that earned him 176 caps for Italy, saving well to deny Alex Iwobi, Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan when they were all clean through on goal.
The French champions offered little in a tepid first-half display, midfielder Azzedine Toufiqui twice curling shots wide of Bernd Leno’s right-hand post before the German keeper stood firm to block Timothy Weah’s powerful shot in the 34th minute.
Christopher Nkunku produced Paris St Germain’s best moment of the half shortly before the break when the French midfielder jinked past three Arsenal defenders before sending a rising shot just over the Arsenal crossbar.
Paris St Germain made a much stronger start to the second half and Nkunku soon tested replacement goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez with a stinging free kick from the edge of the penalty area that the Argentine parried clear with a diving punch. (Agencies)