Arsenal 1-2 Olympiacos (aet, agg: 2-2): El Arabi stuns Gunners

Youssef El Arabi pounced late in extra time to send Olympiacos into the last 16 on away goals and sink last season's runners-up.

Highlights: Arsenal 1-2 Olympiacos

Olympiacos are through to the round of 16 after a dramatic end to a hard-fought contest at Arsenal, Youssef El Arabi sealing an away-goals win in extra time after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looked to have sent the Gunners through.

The match at a glance

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's goal was not enough for Arsenal
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's goal was not enough for ArsenalGetty Images

Chances were hard to come by in a first half that Arsenal dominated, with Nicolas Pépé curling a free-kick just over. However, Olympiacos came closest on the counterattack when Mohamed Camara sliced wide.

There was little sign of a breakthrough until, in the 53rd minute, Mathieu Valbuena's inswinging corner evaded the Arsenal defence and Pape Abou Cissé stooped to head powerfully past Bernd Leno. Arsenal were camped in the Olympiacos half for the remainder of normal time but could not break through a defence that had not conceded in ten away games.

That meant the game headed for extra time, and Arsenal looked to have seized control when Aubameyang buried a sumptuous bicycle kick after Mesut Özil's cross had been headed to the back post. But El Arabi responded in the final minute – and Aubameyang's last-gasp miss confirmed the outcome.

ARSENAL vs OLYMPIACOS: as it happened
Youssef El Arabi wheels away in delight
Youssef El Arabi wheels away in delightGetty Images


View from the stadium: Andy Brassell, match reporter

That's a bitter blow for Mikel Arteta as he continues his rebuild. His team selection showed the intent to win the game, but the visitors played with great spirit, organisation and no little quality. That will be of little consolation to the home side, with players including David Luiz and Aubameyang dropping to the turf as the away throngs exult.

Visitors' view: Vassiliki Papantonopoulou

Olympiacos were looking tired, almost out of the competition, but they got what they deserved in the end. In extra time, Gaspar couldn't score, neither could Masouras, but the latter set up El Arabi beautifully for the winner in the 120th minute. Having collected the famous scalp of last year's finalists, they advance to the last 16 with a heroic performance. They are allowed to dream big!

Arsenal get to grips with elimination
Arsenal get to grips with eliminationGetty Images

Reaction

Pedro Martins, Olympiacos coach: "It's a historic night for Olympiacos. We deserved this qualification, not only for these two games against Arsenal but also for our spirited performances in Europe throughout the season regardless of the results. We were determined, we believed we could qualify and we made it. Tactical intelligence, effectiveness, inner strength, courage… they all weighed in this success."

Olympiacos defender Kostas Tsimikas: "Congratulations to my team, to my team-mates. I am so proud of them all. We are all a tight-knit group, like a family. What we achieved tonight will forever remain in my heart."

Mikel Arteta, Arsenal manager: "It hurts a lot. We had a lot of intentions in this competition. We were in control but conceded a set piece to put us in a difficult position. We created a lot of chances and got ourselves in a good position. If you concede four goals from set pieces in two games it makes it very difficult. Attack against defence in 25 metres is difficult, but we created enough chances to win the game comfortably."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal forward: "I'm very disappointed. We missed some pace in the game; that cost us a bit today. The last-minute goal was unlucky for us. I feel very bad, but that can happen. I don't know how I missed that chance [at the end]. It was tough because they played very deep and it was hard to find solutions in the final third."

The Olympiacos bench reacts to victory
The Olympiacos bench reacts to victoryGetty Images

Key stats

  • Olympiacos have only conceded one goal in their last 11 away games, Aubameyang's effort tonight
  • The Greek side are unbeaten in 11 away games (W8 D3)
  • Youssef El Arabi has scored nine goals in his last ten away games for Olympiacos
  • Arsenal had never previously failed to progress from a European tie (including qualifiers) after winning the first leg away from home. This was the 18th occasion they had won the away opener
  • Arsenal have been losing at half-time in only two of their last 23 UEFA Europa League games
  • Arsenal have found the net in 35 of their last 36 home games

Line-ups

Arsenal: Leno; Bellerín (Willock 84), David Luiz, Mustafi (Papastathopoulos 103), Saka; Ceballos (Torreira 72), Xhaka; Aubameyang, Özil, Pépé; Lacazette (Martinelli 106)

Olympiacos: José Sá; Elabdellaoui, Cissé, Ba, Tsimikas (Lovera 114); Bouchalakis, Camara, Guilherme (Papadopoulos 117); Randjelovic (Masouras 77), Valbuena (Gaspar 86); El Arabi

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