Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has rescued Arsenal’s Europa League campaign from being defeated with his late winner that secured a dramatic 3-2 victory over Benfica in Greece on Thursday night.
Tonight, Arsenal survived a huge scare of not progressing into last-16 of Europa League after Aubameyang’s double and Kieran Tierney strike. Their goals helped keep their silverware hopes alive despite errors from Dani Ceballos errors that gifted Benfica the advantage.
Aubameyang had initially given Mikel Arteta’s side the lead in the 21st minute at Greece capital, Athens on Thursday night, only for Diogo Goncalves to equalise with a stunning free-kick on the stroke of half-time.
A defensive error from Arsenal’s Dani Ceballos then allowed Rafa Silva to score again for Benfica in the 61st minute. However, Arsenal’s full back Kieran Tierney’s venomous strike leveled the scoreline in the 67th minute. The Portuguese outfit looked to be going through on away goals.
The Gunners (Arsenal) then sealed a place in the last-16 with three minutes remaining when Arsenal’s Captain, Aubameyang peeled away to the back post to head in Bukayo Saka’s cross into the net. With that, they booked a place in friday’s last-16 Europa League draw after a 4-3 aggregate win.
Arsenal’s Forward and the scorer of the winner Aubameyang spoke after the game, saying;
Everyone is happy tonight. 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.
Tonight I’m really happy that we won the game. The team showed character, a lot of character and I think we deserved the win. It was a hard game, but tonight I’m really happy for the team. What we showed tonight, I think it’s going to be an example for the future.
However, speaking about about Ceballos’ error in his post match conference, Arsenal boss Mikel Aterta said;
I’m especially happy for Dani because he is a player who lives this profession like the most important thing in his life and when he made that mistake, if that would have cost the team and gone out of the competition that would have been mentally really tough.
That is when you need the players in the team like the ones we have with Auba[meyang], Bukayo [Saka] creating the situations, Kieran [Tierney] scoring the goal to save him and out of a difficult situation we created a really nice moment.
The draw for the last 16 round will take place on Friday, February 26 in Nyon’s House of European Football.
Arsenal will travel to Leicester in the Premier League on Sunday.
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