Bukayo Saka warned his Arsenal teammates they could not go wrong in their second Europa League match against Benfica in the Round of 16, after his goal earned them a draw in the first leg in Rome.
The match took place at the Olympic Stadium in Rome while Covid-19 played in Portugal. The Gunners were the better team, but they failed to convert several chances in the first half and lost on penalties to Pizzi.
Cedric Soares sent in a cross to English winger Sack, who scored the equaliser from close range.
The English winger is now determined not to let his side suffer the same European fate as last season, when Arsenal reached the Round of 16 against Olympiacos by scoring in the last minute of extra time.
It’s all about the management of the game, Saka told BT Sport. Last year, when we played Olympiacos, we got a stupid goal against. We can do no wrong, for if we do, we make life more difficult for ourselves.
We had a lot of chances tonight. We dominated the whole game. You’re lucky, and I don’t think you’re lucky. We should have responded well to that.
We got the goal back and we could have won. It’s not the worst result, we scored a goal.
Benfica earned a penalty when Emil Smith Rowe tried to block a Diogo Goncalves cross, and Pizzi converted the penalty in his seventh league appearance.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who had just scored a hat-trick against Leeds in the Premier League, created two great chances in the match, but inexplicably from close range, 0-0, before intercepting an effort to make it 1-1.
Some positive news for the Gunners: Left-back Kieran Tierney and striker Gabriel Martinelli have returned as replacements after injury.
The return takes place a week later in Athens, between the Gunners’ two major league games – a visit to Manchester at the Emirates and a trip to Leicester.
Saka to the rescue while the odds are against.
Arsenal have improved their performances and results in recent weeks, but the start to the season has been erratic. The Europa League is probably the most realistic way back to the Champions League.
The Gunners’ starting eleven suggests that Mikel Arteta has given his consent. The Spaniard put together the same team that started Sunday’s impressive 4-2 victory over Leeds at the Emirates.
It was notable that Arsenal called up an unchanged eleven for the first time since September 2018, but that led to attacking action on Sunday, especially on the right, where Hector Bellerin was a constant and energetic threat.
An equally deadly finish was lacking, however, especially with the hero of the weekend, a hat-trick from Aubameyang.
You can apologize for the fact that your second chance was rejected, bit obliquely, but not with the first.
Bellerin’s low shot landed on the striker, but he was able to fire his shot past the post instead of into the net, where the stick was.
Fortunately, Saka was sharp enough to hold the other end at the same distance if necessary. It was his tenth goal for the Gunners and further evidence of his growing importance to Arteta.
Since the start of last season, the 19-year-old has become the youngest player in the Premier League to score more than 10 goals and provide more than 10 assists in all competitions.
We were very dominant and created great chances, Arteta told BT Sport. We need to be more ruthless. It’s disappointing that we gave up a goal. We gave them the ball, then it was 1-1 and everyone played for it.
He missed a corner, didn’t react fast enough after a corner and missed a penalty. On second thought, it’s hard to judge. We had a good response and scored a nice goal.
We were trying to maintain a level. Both teams went down in the final 20 minutes. But overall, we have to leave the country with more of the same.
Benfica have welcomed several former Premier League players, including former Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen and unpredictable midfielder Adel Taraabt, who have both entertained and infuriated Tottenham and KCR fans.
The Moroccan’s only contribution in this regard came midway through the second half in the form of a running move and a diagonal pass to Everton, who placed a shot just over the top corner of Bernd Leno’s goal.
Neither side presented another serious chance, so it all came back to Greece.
Pizza imitates a real big
- Pizzi is the first Portuguese since Eusebio to score at least seven goals in a single European season for Benfica in the 1970-71 European Cup Winners’ Cup (also 7).
- Since the start of the 2019-20 Europa League campaign, only Bruno Fernandez (10) has scored more goals in the competition than Pizzi Benfica (9).
- Pizzi’s first goal from the penalty spot was Benfica’s 100th in the Europa League, one of only eight clubs to achieve the feat since the competition’s inaugural season in 2009/10.
- Arsenal have managed to finish their first away game with a win or a draw in 13 of their last 16 knockout rounds in UEFA competitions, with the exception of Olympiacos, at this stage of European competition last season.
- Benfica are unbeaten in each of their 26 home games in the Europa League (W20 D6) – at least 15 more home games than any other team that has not lost a single home game in the competition (Chelsea, 11).
The player of the game
- Team number 5Player nameVertonghen
- Team number49Player nameTaarabt
- Team number30Player nameOtamendi
- Team number3Players nameGrimaldo
- Team number77Player nameNelton Leite
- place number21 pawn namePizzi
- Team number 10Player name Waldschmidt
- Team number 4Players nameLucas Verissimo
- Team number28Player nameWeigle
- Team number17Player nameDiogo Gonçalves
- Team number7Players nameEverton
- Team number 27Player nameRafa
- Team number9PseudoNúñez
- Team number8Player nameGabriel Wire
- Team number14Player nameSeferovich
- Team number19Player nameChiquinho
4Verissimo da Silva30Otamendi5Vertonghen
17Cupido Goncalves21Afonso Fernandes28Weigl49Taarabt3Grimaldo
- 77Aleiso Leith.
- 4Verissimo da SilvaReplacing Machadobei 85’min
- 17Cupido Goncalves
- 21Afonso Fernandez, substitute for Sousa Soares in the 64th minute.
- 49TaarabtReplaced forArt Piresat 77’minutes
- 3 Grimaldo
- 10WaldschmidtSubstitute of Ferreira Silvain at 45’min
- 9NúñezReplaced by Seferovicin 64’minute
- 7Sousa Soares
- 8Apple tires
- 19 Machado
- 27Ferreira Silva.
- 38Delmino da Silva
- 71 Tavares
- 82Fonseca Ferreira
- 99 Vlahodimos
2Bellerin23David Luis6Gabriel17Cedric Soares
7Saka11 Ødegaard32Smith Rowe
- 23David Louis
- 17Cedric SoaresReplacing Tirniat 64 minutes.
- 8SebalosSwapped for Elnenyat 90’min
- 11OdegaardSubstitute for Willian at 90’min
- 32Smith RoweSubstitution of Martinelliat 77’min
- 14AubameyangReplaced by Pepeat 77 min.
- 21 cameras
- 22 Marie
- 35 Martinelli
- Game over, Benfica 1, Arsenal 1.
- End of the second half, Benfica 1, Arsenal 1.
- Hector Bellerin (Arsenal) is involved in a challenge.
- In, Arsenal. Willian replaces Martin Odegaard.
- In, Arsenal. Mohamed Elneny replaces Dani Ceballos.
- Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) is penalised after committing a foul.
- Rafa (Benfica) hits a free kick in the opponent’s half.
- Offside, Arsenal. Dani Ceballos plays a forward pass but Bucayo Saca is caught off guard.
- Substitution : Benfica. Chiquinho replaces Lucas Verissimo due to injury.
- Offside, Arsenal. Granit Xhaka plays a pass forward, but the referee sees an offside from Kieran Tierney.
- Gabriel Magalhaes (Arsenal) hits a free kick in the opponent’s half.
- Haris Seferovic (Benfica) is penalised after committing a foul.
- Substitution : Benfica. Gabriel Pires replaces Adel Taarabt.
- In, Arsenal. Gabriel Martinelli replaces Emile Smith Rowe.
- In, Arsenal. Nicolas Pepe replaces Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
- The attempt failed. Everton (Benfica) shoots from close range with his right foot from the left side of the box but misses from the top right corner. Sponsored by Adel Taarabt.
- Gabriel Magalhaes (Arsenal) is penalised after committing a foul.
- Rafa (Benfica) hits a free kick in the opponent’s half.
- Attempt blocked. Hector Bellerin’s (Arsenal) left footed shot is blocked on the edge of the box.
- Corner, Arsenal. Deog Gonçalves took it.