Villarreal 2-1 Arsenal LIVE! Europa League semi-final result, match stream, latest news, goals highlights
Arsenal escaped the Estadio de la Ceramica with a narrow defeat and potentially pivotal away goal after a chaotic Europa League semi-final first-leg tie on Thursday night.
Nicolas Pepe’s second-half penalty after a foul on Bukayo Saka gives the Gunners every chance of progressing through to next month’s Gdansk showpiece.
The chances had initially looked more than bleak for Arsenal after first-half goals from Manu Trigueros and Raul Albiol and the dismissal of Dani Ceballos following two yellow card offences.
However, they did not give up and Pepe was able to reduce the deficit from the spot, with an absorbing clash ending 10 vs 10 after the injured Etienne Capoue was dismissed for a reckless challenge on Saka.
All to play for next week then, when former Arsenal manager Unai Emery makes his return to Emirates Stadium.
Follow Villarreal vs Arsenal reaction LIVE with Standard Sport’s blog below.
“We didn’t want to come here and lose, obviously, but after the way the game developed and being 2-0 down and 10 men you have to take the result. If you have to lose this is the best result we could have, but two different halves.
“We started to be us and in the first half there were so many moments that we weren’t us. We weren’t clear, we disorganised ourselves, we started to chase, we weren’t precise and we didn’t have enough threat and desire to threaten the opponents’ box.
“I am confident, we have a chance to win that’s for sure.”
“There are a lot of positives, which all came in the second half, but it is the semi-final of the Europa League, to start the game like this it is impossible to have a chance of scoring. We didn’t create anything, we lost every duel, we were passive. It was frustrating,” Saka told BT Sport.
“I am happy we picked ourselves up in the second half. We got a chance and managed to score, so we have given ourselves a chance at the Emirates.
“We definitely showed that we are better than them, even with 10 men we were dominating them. It is up to us, it is always up to us, we have a team full of quality players and when we play properly we can compete with anyone and we showed that today.”
Villarreal 2-1 Arsenal
Pepe’s penalty in this chaotic first leg leaves the semi-final tie in the balance!
What a game.
95 mins: Willian’s corner from the right is headed harmlessly over by Chambers.
That should be it!
94 mins: Chance for Aubameyang!
A great turn from the Arsenal skipper to collect Partey’s incisive pass, but a sliding Moreno does just enough to put him off and a firm strike is parried by Rulli.
Elneny and Willian replace Smith Rowe and Pepe for the final seconds.
92 mins: Villarreal are pressing for a last-gasp third goal and handball shouts against Xhaka are waved away.
90 mins: Aubameyang is booked before the fourth official’s board shows FIVE minutes of added time.
Is there another twist to come?
89 mins: Martinelli gets back well to help out his defence as Villarreal are squeezed out.
Should be plenty of injury time coming here...
86 mins: Pepe looking threatening late on as Rulli has to rush out of his goal to intervene.
Another goal would be massive for Arsenal here.
84 mins: This is absorbing, end-to-end stuff now as both teams push for another goal that would change the complexion of this tie.
Saka - Arsenal’s best player again tonight - is replaced by Aubameyang.