Arsenal Suffer Europa League Heartbreak as Last Gasp Olympiacos Strike Knocks Gunners Out

​A Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang bicycle kick deep into extra time was not enough to secure Arsenal a place in the last 16 of the Europa League, with a goal from Youssef El Arabi in the dying seconds sending Olympiacos through on away goals.

The defeat could also spell the end of the Gunners’ slim Champions League qualification hopes.

The first real opportunity of the game came when Nicolas Pepe was brought down on the edge of the box by visiting defender Ousseynou Ba – who was fortunate to escape with just a yellow card. Pepe fired the resultant free kick just wide. 

Youssef El Arabi,Joseph Willock

Olympiacos’ best chance of the half fell to Mady Camara who, after producing a magical solo run, scuffed his shot wide of the near post. 

The Gunners thought they had opened the scoring just before half time when Alexandre Lacazette finished off Bukayo Saka’s cross, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside. 

After the break Pape Abou Cisse nodded home from a corner to give the Greek champions the lead on the night and level up the scores on aggregate. Arsenal looked shell shocked by the goal and offered very little in the way of a response. Bernd Leno was forced into a fine save to keep out Konstantinos Tsimikas’ effort just after they had gone behind.

FBL-EUR-C3-ARSENAL-OLYMPIAKOS

The hosts finally burst into life with ten minutes left of normal time. With Pepe causing problems for the Olympiakos defence, Lacazette somehow failed to finish off a straightforward chance at the back post. 

Both sides had further opportunities to grab a winner but neither could find a breakthrough, forcing the game to extra time. 

Aubameyang believed he had settled the game when the Gunners forward fired an incredible bicycle kick into the top corner, only for El Arabi to break Arsenal hearts with 90 seconds left to play. 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Incredibly, Aubameyang was gifted another opportunity to grab his side the victory with one of the last kicks of the game.

Heartbreakingly for him he could not convert the straightforward chance, firing just wide of the post from close range – ensuring the visitors’ progression to the last 16 in the process.

The result has huge implications for the Gunners slim hopes of qualifying for the Champions League, which may now be extinguished given that the simplest path would have been by winning the Europa League.

Arsenal sit ninth, at least three points off the Champions League places at present, which could change depending on the outcome of Manchester City’s Champions League ban appeal.


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