By Isaac Moore at Meadow Park
Arsenal Under-19s will play Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the Youth League after beating Shakhtar Donetsk 3-1 at Meadow Park.
Jon Toral put the Gunners ahead in the 24th minute but Andriy Boryachuk levelled for the Ukrainians on the stroke of half-time.
Arsenal stayed patient in the second half and were eventually rewarded when Kris Olsson and Serge Gnabry scored quickfire goals to seal the victory.
The hosts were forced to play the final seven minutes with 10 men after Glen Kamara was sent off but they held out for a hard-fought but deserved win.
SETTING THE SCENE
Steve Gatting had a strong squad to chose from. Gnabry, who had scored twice in the side's group stage opener against Marseille, dropped down from the first team to skipper the side.
Elsewhere, Hector Bellerin came in for Tafari Moore at right back after returning from his loan spell at Watford.
Chuba Akom continued up front but a leg injury kept Isaac Hayden out of the tie so Julio Pleguezuelo and Leander Siemann started at the back.
The Gunners were rewarded for finishing top of their group with home advantage but the tie had to be decided on the night.
The first real chance went to Arsenal in the seventh minute. Kamara whipped in a dangerous cross from the left, Akpom lost his marker but miscued his header wide.
The Gunners came even closer two minutes later. Gedion Zelalem released Akpom before the ball fell loose to Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who crashed a left-foot shot off the bar. It was a promising start.
The winger was then guilty of missing a clear-cut chance to put his side ahead after 20 minutes. Akpom was set free down the right and he raced to the byline before cutting the ball back but Maitland-Niles put his effort wide from 10 yards.
But four minutes later, Arsenal took a deserved lead. Shakhtar failed to clear Gnabry's outswinging corner and the ball fell to Toral, who poked an effort between two defenders on the line and into the corner.
The hosts were given a warning just moments after the goal. Mykyta Adamekno drove at Bellerin before drilling a low shot just wide of Deyan Iliev's far post.
As the half wore on, the Ukrainian side started to get a foothold and posed a threat from set-pieces. In the 36th minute, Arsenal could only clear a corner out to the edge of the box. Vyacheslav Tankovskiy arrowed a shot through a bunch of players and looked to have beaten Iliev, but the ball flew inches wide.
Shakthar's equaliser came just a minute before half-time. Olexandr Zinchenko's deep free-kick fell to the unmarked Boryachuk at the back post and he slammed a first-time volley past Iliev.
Both sides continued to create chances in the second half. In the 54th minute Zelalem lost possession midway inside the Arsenal half and Zinchenko found Viktor Kovalenko with a slide-rule pass, but Iliev just managed to push his shot wide.
Gnabry then showed a flash of brilliance, beating three defenders before unleashing a fierce drive which flew just over.
In the 58th minute, Eduard Sobol's dipping free-kick forced Iliev to push the ball behind before Kovalenko sent a shot just over from 30 yards.
Arsenal regained the lead 12 minutes later. Toral slipped a inviting pass into Akpom's feet and the forward got a crucial touch ahead of goalkeeper Bogdan Sarnavskiy, who subsequently hauled him down, giving referee Robert Rodgers no choice but to point to the spot.
Substitute Olsson kept his cool from 12 yards, sending Sarnavskiy the wrong way.
The Gunners put the tie beyond doubt in the 74th minute. A sweeping move ended with Sarnavskiy making a superb double save to deny Akpom and Maitland-Niles, but Gnabry was on hand to tuck home the rebound and give Arsenal breathing space.
Shakhtar poured forward in search of a way back into the game but Arsenal defended manfully and restricted them to long-range strikes.
Kamara was dismissed with seven minutes remaining for a second bookable offence after a late challenge on Kovalenko, but it was a mere blip in an otherwise fantastic evening for Gatting's side.
- Kamara Yellow Card Red Card
- Zelalem 65
- Gnabry Goal!
- Toral Goal!
- Olsson 65 Goal!
- Bogdan Sarnavskiy
- Taras Kacharaba
- Mykola Matviyenko
- Artur Miranyan 83
- Viktor Kovalenko
- Olexandr Zinchenko
- Eduard Sobol
- Andriy Boryachuk Goal!
- Mykyta Adamenko
- Ihor Kyryukhantsev
- Vyacheslav Tankovskiy 74 Yellow Card
- Yaroslav Stavytskiy
- Oleksandr Zubkov
- Artem Habelok
- Beka Vachiberadze 74
- Oleksandr Filin
- Rostyslav Rusyn
- Yuri Hlushchuk 83