EUROPA LEAGUE – Arsenal 1-2 Olympiacos (2-2 agg): Gunners dumped out on away goals as Greek giants stun Arteta’s men
PUBLISHED: 22:40 27 February 2020 | UPDATED: 22:40 27 February 2020
PA Wire/PA Images
Arsenal are out of the Europa League after they lost 2-1 to Olympiacos at the Emirates on Thursday night, losing on away goals with a 2-2 aggregate score.
Pape Abou Cisse put the Greek giants ahead with 53 minutes played as he was left unmarked at a corner to level the tie on aggregate and send the game into extra time, but with 113 minutes on the clock, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's bicycle kick beat Jose Sa and the Gunners looked to be through.
But, with just seconds left to play the home side switched off at the back and allowed Youssef El Arabi to slid in and score the vital away goal that sent the Greek side through, dumping Arsenal out.
Their exit ends hopes of a trophy and denies them another route into next season's Champions League on a night that could define their season.
Mikel Arteta made two changes from the side that beat Everton on Sunday as he named a strong team, with Bukayo Saka replacing the injured Sead Kolasinac while Alexandre Lacazette took the place of Eddie Nketiah.
It was a poor start to the game with Arsenal's tempo far too slow as they looked unsure whether to stick or twist on their aggregate advantage, while the Greek side lacked the cutting edge to break down the hosts.
The game's first real chance came on 36 minutes as Mohamed Camara was left in acres of space down the left, but he hopelessly scuffed his shot into the side netting when well placed.
The Gunners thought they had the lead just three minutes later as Saka squared for Lacazette to tap home inside the six-yard box, but the offside flag was correctly raised with the left-back a yard beyond the last man.
You may also want to watch:
Arteta would have been far from pleased with his side's performance in the first half, and he was left absolutely fuming just after the break as Olympiacos went ahead and levelled on aggregate.
Arsenal's defensive issues reared their ugly head again as Cisse was left unmarked at a corner, ghosting in to power home a header and spark the tie into life.
It could have been even worse moments later had it not been for some fine goalkeeping by Bernd Leno as the German tipped Kostas Tsimikas' long range effort over the bar.
The home side looked for a way back into the game but often found themselves hitting aimless crosses into the box.
They did have a golden opportunity on 77 minutes as Nicolas Pepe forced a save from Jose Sa, before Lacazette headed a chance just wide when he should have scored.
The Gunners couldn't find the goal they needed to take them through in normal time as the game headed into extra time.
Olympiacos came within inches of getting the crucial goal to take them through on 108 minutes as Giorgos Masouras clipped the bar with a shot from the outside the box.
With the minutes ticking down towards penalties, Arsenal needed a moment of magic and they got one through the talismanic captain.
A cross from the right was headed up in the air and as the ball fell from the sky Aubameyang was underneath it, with his bicycle kicking beating Sa and sending the Emirates in raptures as the hosts place in the last-16 looked secured.
But, there was late drama as the hosts switched off from a cross in the area and El Arabi slid in to turn the ball home and dumped Arteta's men out, ending their hopes of lifting the Europa League and a route into next season's Champions League.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Islington Gazette. Click the link in the orange box above for details.