Arsene Wenger left with ‘bitter taste’ after late Atletico equaliser
Fighting performance is undone by defensive mistake
26 April, 2018 — By Tom Foot
Europa League Semi-Final
ARSENAL 1 (Lacazette, 61)
ATLETICO MADRID 1 (Griezmann 81)
ARSENE Wenger was left with a “bitter taste” after his side dominated ten-man Atletico Madrid only to let slip a crucial away goal at the end.
Antoine Griezmann poked in on 81 minute after a catastrophic mistake from Laurent Koscielny – leaving hopes of making the final hanging in the balance.
Alexandre Lacazette had got the breakthrough on 61 mins when he nodded in Jack Wilshere’s inviting cross.
It was no more than the Gunners deserved after an intense attacking performance against the highly rated La Liga outfit.
Wenger said: “We got the performance we wanted but the result did not match the performance. We have to look at our only ourselves. We had 20 shots but we needed to be more clinical. It leaves a bitter taste.”
Atletico had been reduced to ten men on 10 mins when Sime Vrsaljko was sent off after being booked twice for similar fouls in the middle of the park.
Manager Diego Simeone was sent off minutes later after losing his rag on the touchline.
Arsenal had already been bossing the game before the red card with Danny Welbeck, Hector Bellerin and Mesut Ozil playing technically brilliant football that had the home support on the edge of their seats.
Atletico looked shaken by intensity and the Emirates was rocking.
In the first half, Nacho Monreal had a low swerving volley whistle wide while Lacazette had two headers saved from point blank range.
The big summer signing looked a little clumsy at times and was guilty of mistiming what could have proved a crucial though ball. But he got his just desserts after a dogged display up front. Arsenal will most likely rue their missed chances but after a disappointing season at least they are not going out with a whimper.
ARSENAL: Ospina, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal, Xhaka, Ramsey, Ozil, Wilshere, Lacazette, Welbeck.
Subs not used: Cech, Holding, Iwobi, Chambers, Kolasanic.
ATLETICO MADRID: Oblak, Godin, Partey, Koke, Griezmann (Torres 84), Niguez, Correa, Vrsaljko (sent off), Hernandez, Gameiro, Gimenez.