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Arsenal 1 – 1 Benfica


Arsenal play to a 1- all draw against Benfica. Played in Rome’s Olympic Stadium instead of Portugal for Covid-19 reasons, the Gunners were the better side but failed to take a number of first-half chances before falling behind soon after the break. Bukayo Saka was on target as Arsenal came from behind to secure a draw in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie with Portuguese side Benfica.

Emile Smith Rowe was adjudged to have handled in blocking Diogo Goncalves’ cross, leading to a penalty that Pizzi converted to take his goal tally to a tournament-high of seven.

However, the lead lasted just two minutes as Cedric Soares’ low cross was converted from close range by England winger Saka. Fresh from scoring a hat-trick against Leeds in the Premier League, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had two big chances but inexplicably side-footed wide from close range with the score at 0-0 and then dragged an effort off target at 1-1.

In positive news for the Gunners, left-back Kieran Tierney and forward Gabriel Martinelli made welcome returns from injury as second-half substitutes. The second leg is in Athens in a week’s time, sandwiched between two big-league fixtures for the Gunners – the visit of Manchester City to the Emirates and a trip to Leicester.

Source – BBC News