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UEFA Europa League: 72m Pepe Rescues Arsenal

The 72 million Pounds price tag has been haunting the Ivorian all season, especially given his lone goal tally, courtesy a penalty off the magnanimity of Emerick Pierre- Aubameyang.

Courtesy Getty Images

By Segun Precious

Pepe finally repaid the faith manager Unai Emery had in him as he scored two late free-kick goals to spare arsenal blushes last night against Vitoria Guimaraes of Portugal at the Emirates.

The 72 million Pounds price tag has been haunting the Ivorian all season, especially given his lone goal tally, courtesy a penalty off the magnanimity of Emerick Pierre- Aubameyang.

The result means Arsenal maintain their 100 % record in this year’s Europa League. Pepe, Ivorian international, came on as a 75th-minute substitute replacing Alex Lacazette and scored in the 80th minute and added time for the winner. Arsenal trailed 1-2 when he came on.

Gabriel Martinelli had equalized when the Portuguese side opened the scoring on the 8th minute for his fifth goal in the third start this season as the first signing of the season is warming his way into the heart of Arsenal supporters as a great finisher with a great future ahead of him.

Before his introduction, Pepe had played in all EPL matches this season, starting ahead of some players perceived to be in better shape but Emery stuck to him and it paid off last night when Arsenal needed a player to take the game by the scruff of the neck. Arsenal had been abject before the goals after a tame performance Monday night in the EPL against Sheffield United.

Coach Unai Emery was full of praise for Pepe, who was the man of the match despite playing for only 15 minutes, and for the result after the match.

“Our aim in this competition is to top the group. Each match is a chance to use different players and grow experience and little by little get better. We didn’t play like we wanted but we showed good spirit. It’s a good victory. Some players need experience and playing under pressure at this level.

“It’s important for Pepe. He can gain confidence from tonight. When he scores it’s good for him and the team. He’s getting better, playing minutes, playing matches and scoring goals like tonight and he helped us tonight to win this match.” He told www.sportsglobaltv.com

In another match, Anthony Martial scored from the penalty spot as Manchester United ended their away hoodoo with a 1-0 win over Partizan Belgrade.

Wolverhampton Wanderers also won 2-1 away at  Slovan Bratislava, coming from a goal down.

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