Arsenal Win Quest for Europa League Last-16 Qualification

A narrow 3-2 triumph over Benfica in the return leg of the Europa League last-32 gave Arsenal a ticket to be part of the next round of the tournament.

From the team that was in action on this front last week, only Cedric Soares got dropped to be replaced by Kieran Tierney

Our home fixture which was played in Athens, Greece, had to be relocated due to COVID travel restrictions in some parts of Europe. It was a dramatic evening worth experiencing as we came from behind to pull a win late in the game.

Having recorded a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Rome last Thursday, we came into tonight's match as the team with more advantage, courtesy the away goal rule, and it did not take long before we lengthened our hopes through a wonderful finish from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang when Bukayo Saka's reverse pass got to him.

The visitors shook us with their set pieces, one of which went in as the equaliser at the brink of the halftime whistle. It was a skillfully curled freekick taken by Diogo Goncalves that did the trick to put both teams on par via aggregate.

The pressure became more on us upon restart as we were aware that anthing short of a win or a 1-1 draw which will later lead us to extra time would not be healthy for us. We were a bit unlucky to have had a goal from Auba adjudged offside.

As if that was not enough, we had to pay dearly for a an error committed by Dani Ceballos thereby allowing Rafa Silva to round Bernd Leno before tucking one in to give the Portuguese side the lead.

It was beginning to be a horrific sight for us but then we did not give in to the pressure. That paid off and it was Tierney that put us on level terms with assistance from substitute Willian. 

Ending the game that way will see us crash out, so the energy in us was never going to be drained. No relenting and with only three minutes to the end of regular time, Auba headed in Saka's cross. The brace from the Gabonese will at least make fans fully forgive him for his crazy misses that cost us in the first leg. 3-2 it was for the night and 4-3 on aggregate.

We will get to know who we will contend with in the last-16 when the draw is conducted in Nyon, Switzerland on Friday.

Congratulations to us for tonight's feat. We look forward to our Premier League trip to Leicester City by noon on Sunday

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