Arsenal 3-2 Benfica (Agg 4-3): Gunners through to Europa League last 16


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scores his first goal
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored in seven of his past eight cup matches for Arsenal

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a dramatic late winner to help Arsenal edge past Benfica into the last 16 of the Europa League.

In a ‘home’ leg played at the Karaiskakis Stadium in Greece because of Covid-19 restrictions, Aubameyang opened the scoring to give the Gunners a 2-1 aggregate lead.

Diogo Goncalves levelled for Benfica just before the break with a superb free-kick after Dani Ceballos had needlessly fouled Julian Weigl.

The Spanish midfielder compounded that error after the interval with a poor defensive header that saw Rafa Silva race clear to put the visitors in front.

With Arsenal needing two goals to advance because of the away goals rule, Kieran Tierney’s low drive set up a grandstand finish before Aubameyang rescued the tie.

Mikel Arteta’s side will discover their last-16 opponents in Friday’s draw in Nyon (12:00 GMT).

Arsenal avoid another Greek tragedy

Having exited the Europa League at the same stage last season to Olympiakos, it looked as though circumstances had conspired for another European campaign to end in desperate fashion.

Faced with a four-hour flight for a fixture technically billed at a ‘home’ and inside a stadium where they have enjoyed mixed fortunes in the past, Arteta’s side started brightly enough.

When Aubameyang raced on to Bukayo Saka’s incisive pass to lift the ball beyond Benfica goalkeeper Helton Leite, they were firmly in control having drawn the first leg 1-1 in Rome’s Olympic Stadium.

But from that point the game began to unravel as Benfica scored from their first two efforts on target – thanks to a helping hand from Ceballos.

To their credit though the Gunners displayed plenty of resolve to come back from the brink of a damaging defeat that would surely have left their hopes of lifting a trophy in tatters.

Tierney was rewarded for a fine individual display by becoming the first Scottish player to score in a major European competition for the club since 1980.

And Aubameyang, who came in for criticism after missing several chances in the first leg, atoned with his second of the night from Saka’s back-post cross.

More to follow.

Player of the match

TierneyKieran Tierney

Benfica

  1. Squad number17Player nameDiogo Gonçalves

  2. Squad number21Player namePizzi

  3. Squad number30Player nameOtamendi

  4. Squad number49Player nameTaarabt

  5. Squad number27Player nameRafa

  6. Squad number3Player nameGrimaldo

  7. Squad number28Player nameWeigl

  8. Squad number5Player nameVertonghen

  9. Squad number4Player nameLucas Verissimo

  10. Squad number7Player nameEverton

  11. Squad number14Player nameSeferovic

  12. Squad number10Player nameWaldschmidt

  13. Squad number8Player nameGabriel Pires

  14. Squad number77Player nameHelton Leite

  15. Squad number71Player nameTavares

  16. Squad number9Player nameNúñez

Line-ups

Arsenal

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Leno
  • 2BellerínSubstituted forLacazetteat 78′minutes
  • 23David Luiz
  • 6Gabriel
  • 3Tierney
  • 8CeballosSubstituted forParteyat 63′minutes
  • 34Xhaka
  • 7SakaSubstituted forChambersat 90′minutes
  • 11ØdegaardSubstituted forElnenyat 90′minutes
  • 32Smith RoweSubstituted forWillianat 63′minutes
  • 14Aubameyang

Substitutes

  • 9Lacazette
  • 12Willian
  • 17Cédric Soares
  • 18Partey
  • 19Pépé
  • 21Chambers
  • 22Marí
  • 25Elneny
  • 30Nketiah
  • 33Ryan
  • 35Martinelli
  • 44Hein

Benfica

Formation 3-5-2

  • 77Aleixo Leite
  • 4Verissimo da Silva
  • 30Otamendi
  • 5Vertonghen
  • 17Cupido Goncalves
  • 21Afonso FernandesSubstituted forSousa Soaresat 58′minutes
  • 28WeiglSubstituted forWaldschmidtat 90′minutes
  • 49TaarabtBooked at 5minsSubstituted forAppelt Piresat 58′minutes
  • 3GrimaldoSubstituted forTavaresat 85′minutes
  • 27Ferreira Silva
  • 14SeferovicSubstituted forNúñezat 57′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Svilar
  • 2Junior
  • 7Sousa Soares
  • 8Appelt Pires
  • 9Núñez
  • 10Waldschmidt
  • 11Cervi
  • 19Machado
  • 38Delmino da Silva
  • 71Tavares
  • 88Matias Ramos
  • 99Vlachodimos

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