Aubameyang sends Arsenal into next Europa League stage

PARIS (AFP) – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice including a late winner as Arsenal qualified for the last 16 of the Europa League yesterday with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Benfica in the home leg of their relocated tie in Greece.

The Gabon striker put Arsenal ahead at the Karaiskakis stadium in Piraeus following a 1-1 draw in the first leg, which was played in Rome due to Covid-19 travel restrictions between Portugal and the United Kingdom (UK).

Diogo Goncalves levelled the tie with a magnificent curling free-kick and Rafa Silva gave Benfica a 2-1 lead on the night when he took advantage of an error from Dani Ceballos on the hour.

Kieran Tierney rifled in an equaliser and Aubameyang headed in the decisive goal from Bukayo Saka’s cross on 87 minutes, earning the Gunners a 4-3 aggregate victory and saving them from an unusual away goals exit.

“Everyone is happy tonight. This is what gives me power every day, take errors from the past and transform to strength,” Aubameyang told BT Sport.

“The team showed a lot of character and we deserved the win. It was a hard game. What we showed tonight will be an example for the future.”

Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates with teammates after scoring. PHOTO: AP