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

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

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

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 exit

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 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, who had won just one of their past six matches, 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 this season 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.

Aside from sparing Arteta the inevitable questions over the club’s progression under his stewardship, it also provided the Gabon forward with an element of redemption after his last-gasp miss sealed their fate against Olympiakos 12 months ago.

Leno’s landmark – the stats

  • Arsenal have reached the last 16 of the Europa League in three of the four seasons they have appeared in the competition, with the only exception being in 2019-20 (eliminated at the last 32).
  • Benfica suffered their first Europa League defeat since February 2020 against Shakhtar Donetsk (2-1), ending their eight-game unbeaten run in the competition.
  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored in seven of his past eight cup matches for Arsenal (10 goals in total – FA Cup – five, Europa League – four, Community Shield – one), only failing to net against Benfica in the first leg during this run.
  • Only Trent Alexander-Arnold (20) has more assists among English players for Premier League clubs in all competitions since the start of last season than Bukayo Saka (18), following his two assists this evening.
  • Kieran Tierney became the first Scotsman to score for Arsenal in a major European competition since Willie Young against Gothenburg in March 1980 in the Cup Winners Cup quarter-final.
  • Bernd Leno made his 100th appearance for Arsenal in all competitions, becoming the fifth German player to reach this milestone for the club after Jens Lehmann (200), Per Mertesacker (221) Mesut Ozil (254) and Shkodran Mustafi (151).

Player of the match

with an average of 7.98

Arsenal

  1. Squad number3Player nameTierney
    Average rating
  2. Squad number14Player nameAubameyang
    Average rating
  3. Squad number7Player nameSaka
    Average rating
  4. Squad number11Player nameØdegaard
    Average rating
  5. Squad number32Player nameSmith Rowe
    Average rating
  6. Squad number18Player namePartey
    Average rating
  7. Squad number9Player nameLacazette
    Average rating
  8. Squad number1Player nameLeno
    Average rating
  9. Squad number6Player nameGabriel Magalhães
    Average rating
  10. Squad number34Player nameXhaka
    Average rating
  11. Squad number12Player nameWillian
    Average rating
  12. Squad number2Player nameBellerín
    Average rating
  13. Squad number21Player nameChambers
    Average rating
  14. Squad number23Player nameDavid Luiz
    Average rating
  15. Squad number25Player nameMohamed Elneny
    Average rating
  16. Squad number8Player nameDani Ceballos
    Average rating

Benfica

  1. Squad number17Player nameDiogo Gonçalves

    Average rating
  2. Squad number21Player namePizzi

    Average rating
  3. Squad number30Player nameOtamendi

    Average rating
  4. Squad number49Player nameTaarabt

    Average rating
  5. Squad number27Player nameRafa

    Average rating
  6. Squad number3Player nameGrimaldo

    Average rating
  7. Squad number28Player nameWeigl

    Average rating
  8. Squad number5Player nameVertonghen

    Average rating
  9. Squad number4Player nameLucas Verissimo

    Average rating
  10. Squad number7Player nameEverton

    Average rating
  11. Squad number14Player nameSeferovic

    Average rating
  12. Squad number10Player nameWaldschmidt

    Average rating
  13. Squad number8Player nameGabriel Pires

    Average rating
  14. Squad number77Player nameHelton Leite

    Average rating
  15. Squad number71Player nameTavares

    Average rating
  16. Squad number9Player nameNúñez

    Average rating

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

Referee:
Björn Kuipers

Match Stats

Live Text

Post update

Match ends, Arsenal 3, Benfica 2.

  • Source: BBC

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