Arsenal advance in Europa League despite loss to Olympiacos

Sports Desk, Mar 18 (efe-epa).- An unimpressive Arsenal side lost 0-1 Thursday to Olympiacos in the second leg of their Europa League knockout stage tie, but the Gunners prevailed 3-2 on aggregate to claim a spot in the quarterfinals.

Last year, Olympiacos came into London’s Emirates Stadium trailing Arsenal by a goal after the first leg of a round of 32 clash.

On that occasion, the Greek club won the second leg 1-2 in extra time to draw level and take the tie on away goals.

Neither squad scored in the first half of Thursday’s match.

Gunners captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, back in the lineup after missing the previous game for an infraction of team rules, came the closest for the hopes, sending his shot over the cross-bar.

At the other end, Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno made a good save to deny Youssef El-Arabi, author of the decisive goal in last year’s tie.

The visitors made a vigorous start to the second half and after two near-misses, El-Arabi put them ahead on the night with a goal in the 51st minute.

As the hour mark approached, Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta replaced Dani Ceballos with Real Madrid loanee Martin Odegaard and the Norwegian made the most of his opportunity.

After firing over the cross-bar in the 76th minute, Odegaard set up a great chance for Nicolas Pepe, but Olympiacos keeper Jose Sa made the stop.

Aubameyang sent a shot wide in the 80th minute, two minutes before the visitors went down to 10 men with the expulsion of Ousseynou Ba, who managed to pick up a pair of yellow cards in the space of 10 seconds.

Yet even with the man advantage, Arsenal generated only one additional chance and Sa denied Aubameyang in the final minute of regulation.

“Really happy to be through. We had a tough opponent, so happy to be through,” Arteta told BT Sport afterward.

“We were unstable with the ball and we gave it away. It’s impossible when you give the ball away to have any structure. We created enough chances to win but were nowhere near the levels in which we can perform,” the Gunners coach said. EFE


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