Aubameyang’s Late Strike Gives Arsenal Win in Europa League
A late strike by captain Pierre- Emerick Aubameyang saw Arsenal pip Benfica 3-2 last night and 4-3 on aggregate to advance to the round of 16 of the Europa League.
Arsenal were ‘home’ at the Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus, Greece, due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.
The match was poised for a 2-2 draw and 3-3 on aggregate- which could have been an advantage Benfica- before the Gabonese international popped up at the end of a sublime cross from Bukayo Saka.
That was in the 87th minute as Arsenal were so close to losing out like they did against Olympiakos last season.
The match in Athens saw Arsenal take the lead by the captain in the 21st minute but all went awry when Benfica equalised and took the lead. Kieran Tierney however scored a superb leveller but it was not enough, based on the away goals rule.
And the Gabon striker, whose glaring miss cost his team a place in the last 16 almost a year ago, says this was an experience his side can draw strength from for the future
“Definitely, I had this in my head, but this is what gives me power every day, to take the error from the past and transform it to strength,” Aubameyang, 31, said.
“The team showed character, a lot of character and I think we deserved the win. What we showed tonight, I think it’s going to be an example for the future.”
Speaking on BT Sport former Arsenal defender Martin Keown praised his old club’s character but also warned that they cannot continue making the sort of mistakes that contributed to all three of Benfica’s goals over the two legs.
“They made it so difficult for themselves but they got through it,” Keown said.
“You were looking at the future and thinking what was going to happen to the manager and the players. They were facing real trouble. The course of history changed in a moment there. They have to keep this momentum going.
“There would have been questions ‘is Arteta the right man for the future? I think he is but they have to support him in he summer. Imagine if they had gone out, it would have been very tricky for him.”
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