Sports Desk, Apr 15 (EFE).- Arsenal needed just 24 minutes Thursday to take an insurmountable lead over Slavia Prague in the second leg of the Europa League quarterfinal and the Gunners went on to prevail 0-4 for a 5-1 win on aggregate.
In a season that has seen them struggle for consistency, Mikel Arteta’s men conceded a late equalizer in last week’s first leg in London and supporters of the Premier League club wondered which version of Arsenal would take the field in Prague.
The Gunners wasted no time in dispelling those doubts.
Emile Smith Rowe put Arsenal ahead in the 14th minute, scoring on the rebound after Bukayo Saka’s blast bounced off the post. But the goal was disallowed for an offside.
Slavia would have only four minutes to savor the let-off, as Nicolas Pepe slipped the ball past advancing Slavia goalkeeper Ondrej Kolar in the 18th minute with an assist from Smith Rowe.
Saka won a penalty on the next Arsenal attack and Alexander Lacazette converted in the 21st minute to give his side a two-goal advantage.
The Gunners went ahead 0-3 on the night in the 24th on a tremendous strike by Saka.
Visiting keeper Bernd Leno faced zero pressure in the first half, as the back-line trio of Pablo Mari, Rob Holding and Calum Chambers defused any potential threats.
Slavia beat the likes of Bayer Leverkusen, Leicester City and Rangers to get to the quarterfinals and coach Jindrich Trpisovsky made four changes to start the second half in a bid to jolt his squad to life.
The bold move did not pay off. The only scoring in the second half came from Lacazette, who completed a brace in the 77th minute.
Arsenal’s opponent in the semifinals will be Villarreal, coached by Unai Emery, who preceded Arteta at the Emirates and guided Sevilla to three successive Europa League titles in the 2010s.