Eddie Nketiah's Brace Leads Arsenal Past Fiorentina in 2019 ICC Friendly

Megan ArmstrongCorrespondent IIIJuly 21, 2019

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - JULY 20: Eddie Nketiah #30 of Arsenal celebrates a goal against Fiorentina in the first half during their 2019 International Champions Cup match at Bank of America Stadium on July 20, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/International Champions Cup/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/International Champions Cup/Getty Images

Eddie Nketiah is making the most of his opportunities during the 2019 International Champions Cup.

Saturday, the 20-year-old Arsenal striker led the Gunners with a brace in their 3-0 win against AFC Fiorentina at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. The brace acted as a continuation from his game-winner in the 88th minute against Bayern Munich Wednesday night, which occurred seven minutes after he was subbed into the game.

Nketiah's first against AFC Fiorentina came in the 15th minute. Sead Kolasinac completed his run down the left flank with a cross into the box. A sliding Fiorentina defender deflected the ball, but Nketiah calmly collected the ball and side-stepped his defender to strike into the bottom left corner. Cool as you like.

Nketiah notched his brace in the 65th minute with another right-footed blast from the box. The goal was ironically assisted by Alexandre Lacazette, who subbed on for Kolasinac to start the second half.

The Gunners' starting lineup was taken over by their young prospects. Alongside Nketiah up top was 19-year-old Reiss Nelson and 17-year-old Bukayo Saka. 

The ICC has proved thus far to be something of a training ground for head coach Unai Emery to see what he has as Nelson spent last season on loan with Hoffenheim in Bundesliga—scoring seven goals in 23 games—while Saka made three appearances across all competitions but only played seven minutes domestically.

Then there's Nketiah, the friendly tournament's breakout Gunner. His three goals in two ICC matches supersede the one score he has managed across two seasons and 15 total appearances.

Saka was replaced by 19-year-old Joe Willock in the 63rd minute, and Willock tacked on Arsenal's third goal of the evening in the 89th minute, giving Lacazette another assist.

While the youth held things down on the pitch, star Hector Bellerin, who is recovering from a ruptured knee ligament, mingled with U.S. women's national team co-captain Megan Rapinoe.

As for Fiorentina, the Italian side had several chances of their own—18 shots and eight of them on goal—but couldn't execute. Their next chance to score will be Wednesday in an ICC matchup with Benfica at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.

Arsenal will resume ICC action Tuesday against Real Madrid at Washington D.C.'s FedEx Field.

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