Arsenal began late, beating Benfica 4-3 on combination in Athens to safe their place within the Europa League within the final 16.
After their 1-1 attract Budapest final week, Arsenal took the lead on the night time and within the draw midway by the primary half, Bukayo Saka performed a scrumptious ball by the again line of Benfica in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Gabon worldwide timing his run completely earlier than lifting the ball over Benfica goalkeeper Helton.
Mikel Arteta’s facet gave the impression to be in management, though an pointless problem 25 yards from Dani Caballos’ objective gave Benfica an opportunity to lastly take a look at Bernd Leno. Diogo Goncalves stepped in and despatched a curling free kick to the highest nook out of the German’s attain.
With the scores all sq., the benefit took an enormous swing firmly in favor of the Portuguese facet, with Helton amassing a nook from Arsenal earlier than throwing the ball into the pitch. After giving the free kick for Benfica’s equalizer, Ceballos produced a horrible again header which was learn by Rafa, the striker operating in the direction of the objective, taking a throw-in to cross Leno earlier than hitting the ball at shut vary .
The Gunners would stage the scores six minutes later, nevertheless, with substitute Willian having an instantaneous affect. The Brazilian discovered himself free on the left flank earlier than pulling it out for Kieran Tierney, with the previous Celtic left-back coming in earlier than pushing his effort into the nook.
With the scores tied at 3-3 general, it appeared like Arsenal’s European journey could be over with the primary knockout, with Benfica holding the benefit on away targets. Nonetheless, with simply three minutes into the sport, Saka and Aubameyang mixed once more to ship the north London membership into the final 16. .
🔴⚪️🙌🏻👏🏼⚽️ It is soccer and you may at all times study and repair your errors! 💪 Subsequent spherical! Thanks my God! Let’s go Gunners! Thanks @ Aubameyang7 ❤️@Arsenal #EuropaLeague #VamosGunners #Subsequent flip #ArsenalVsBenfica pic.twitter.com/VLbg0JCR6x
– Daniel Ceballos (@ DaniCeballos46) 25 February 2021
Afterwards, Mikel Arteta hopes the end result can have a constructive affect on the membership’s Premier League fortunes, saying it might have been “ actually robust ” on his finish to have been eradicated.
“Properly, positive it makes the season go significantly better,” he stated in his post-match press convention. “This competitors will assist [us in] the Premier League for positive, to maintain everybody collectively, to have one thing to play.
“In the present day it might have been very arduous with what occurred in each units to be out of competitors.
Requested about Ceballos’ function in Benfica’s two targets, Arteta added: “I am notably joyful for Dani as a result of he is a participant who lives this job as whether it is an important factor in his life and when he made this error if it might have price him to be out of the competitors, it might have been very troublesome mentally. So that is the place you want gamers within the squad like we did with Auba with Bukayo creating the conditions, KT scoring the objective to avoid wasting him. On a troublesome state of affairs created a very brilliant second.
“He actually misplaced this sport and he did all the things to organize. He doesn’t have a ten yr contract on the membership, he’s on mortgage and nonetheless defends this membership in the very best method. I really feel that somebody like him deserves good issues to occur to him.
There was criticism of goalscorer Aubameyang in current months following his uncommon struggles in entrance of objective, though the Spaniard says he has full confidence in his quantity 14 following his decisive contribution.
“I completely belief him as a result of we produce possibilities and when Auba has possibilities he’ll rating targets.
Subsequent up for Arsenal is a weekend conflict in opposition to high 4 prospects Leicester Metropolis.
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