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Arsenal Europa League hopes hit as 10-man Atletico salvage late draw

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Antoine Griezmann

Antoine Griezmann punished Arsenal’s lax defence late on as 10-man Atletico Madrid’s rearguard action salvaged a draw from the Europa League semi-final first leg at the Emirates.

The visitors were on the back foot for almost the entire game after defender Sime Vrsaljko was dismissed for two yellow cards in the first 10 minutes.

With Atletico’s furious manager Diego Simeone sent to the stands shortly afterwards, the Spanish side survived unscathed to half-time with Alexandre Lacazette clipping the post with a half-volley in the hosts’ best chance.

Lacazette nodded in Jack Wilshere’s cross just after the hour to apparently edge the Gunners closer to a Europa League final send-off for outgoing manager Arsene Wenger.

But with eight minutes remaining Griezmann latched onto a long ball forward, shrugged off Laurent Koscielny and stabbed into the net at the second attempt to swing the tie Atletico’s way.

Arsenal’s fans were left ruing a familiar combination of wasteful finishing and costly lapses in concentration as the teams departed to a muted response in Wenger’s final home European game.

Their team now must breach an Atletico Madrid defence that has conceded just four times at home in La Liga this season to have any hope of extending Wenger’s 22-season spell in charge to the final on 16 May.

Atletico’s early outbursts

Sime Vrsaljko

In contrast to Arsenal, Atletico Madrid’s defensive discipline has served them well in recent continental campaigns, grinding out victory in four of their five European semi-finals over the past nine seasons.

But the Spaniards’ usual pragmatism deserted them as they self-combusted in the opening 13 minutes.

Croatian right-back Vrsaljko was booked as he caught Jack Wilshere late in the second minute and, instead of showing the requisite caution, blundered into Lacazette with his studs up eight minutes later.

So early in the contest, Atletico may have expected referee Clement Turpin to limit punishment to a stern and final warning.

But the 35-year-old Frenchman judged the challenge rather than the occasion and showed Vrsaljko a justified second yellow.

Simeone was exasperated by that decision and incensed by Turpin opting not to book Hector Bellerin shortly after. The Argentine was dispatched to the stands after aiming a stream of invective at the official.

Atletico in their element

Diego Simeone

If any side is suited to surviving such a precarious situation though, it is Atletico.

Midfielder Thomas Partey slotted back into defence, forward Griezmann dropped deeper and their whole side set about absorbing Arsenal’s pressure and running down the clock.

The visitors rode their luck at times, with Lacazette grazing the post with an awkward half-volley, but had chances of their own in the first half with Griezmann thumping a fierce shot straight at David Ospina.

As Simeone stood impatiently in a gangway high above and his assistant German Burgos orchestrated from the sidelines, their side threatened to throttle the life out of the game.

The tightest defence in La Liga – with only 18 goals conceded in 34 games – was finally undone as Wilshere dug out a cross and Lacazette hung above Lucas Hernandez to score his 16th of the season.

With Griezmann lurking though, Atletico always retained the power to land a sucker punch.

The France international was played onside by dawdling Nacho Monreal before he hustled Koscielny into a swiped, unsuccessful clearance and applied the finish to spark delirium in the away section.

Wenger to be denied dream send-off?

Arsene Wenger

Aaron Ramsey’s header was brilliantly pawed away by Jan Oblak as Arsenal pushed in vain to re-establish their lead but, given the weight of the away goal, it may not have unseated Atletico as favourites to progress.

Wenger has twice lost in European finals with Arsenal, missing out in a penalty shootout against Galatasaray in the 2000 Uefa Cup final, before being broken down by Barcelona in the Champions League final six years later.

It will require one of Arsenal’s great European displays to take him to a third.

The Gunners may take heart from London rivals Chelsea, who won 2-1 at the Wanda Metropolitano in September.

Line-ups

Arsenal

  • 13Ospina
  • 24Bellerín
  • 20Mustafi
  • 6Koscielny
  • 18Monreal
  • 8Ramsey
  • 29Xhaka
  • 10Wilshere
  • 23Welbeck
  • 11Özil
  • 9Lacazette

Substitutes

  • 16Holding
  • 17Iwobi
  • 21Chambers
  • 30Maitland-Niles
  • 31Kolasinac
  • 33Cech
  • 62Nketiah

Atl Madrid

  • 13Oblak
  • 16VrsaljkoBooked at 10mins
  • 24Giménez
  • 2Godín
  • 19Hernández
  • 11CorreaSubstituted forSavicat 75′minutes
  • 5Partey
  • 8Ñíguez
  • 6Koke
  • 21GameiroSubstituted forGabiat 65′minutes
  • 7GriezmannSubstituted forTorresat 85′minutes

Substitutes

  • 9Torres
  • 14Gabi
  • 15Savic
  • 18Diego Costa
  • 23Machín Pérez
  • 25Werner
  • 30Olabe
Referee:
Clément Turpin

Match Stats

Home TeamArsenalAway TeamAtl Madrid
Possession
Home76%
Away24%
Shots
Home28
Away6
Shots on Target
Home8
Away5
Corners
Home11
Away0
Fouls
Home13
Away11

Live Text

Match ends, Arsenal 1, Atlético de Madrid 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Arsenal 1, Atlético de Madrid 1.

Attempt missed. Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right following a corner.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Stefan Savic.

Attempt saved. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Mesut Özil with a cross.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Lucas Hernández.

Attempt blocked. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Laurent Koscielny with a headed pass.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Stefan Savic.

Mesut Özil (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Saúl Ñíguez (Atlético de Madrid).

Attempt missed. Danny Welbeck (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Alexandre Lacazette with a headed pass.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Jan Oblak.

Attempt saved. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Alexandre Lacazette.

Substitution

Substitution, Atlético de Madrid. Fernando Torres replaces Antoine Griezmann.

Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Antoine Griezmann (Atlético de Madrid).

Goal!

Goal! Arsenal 1, Atlético de Madrid 1. Antoine Griezmann (Atlético de Madrid) left footed shot from the right side of the six yard box to the high centre of the goal.

Attempt saved. Antoine Griezmann (Atlético de Madrid) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Héctor Bellerín (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Gabi (Atlético de Madrid).

Foul by Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal).

José Giménez (Atlético de Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jack Wilshere (Arsenal).

Gabi (Atlético de Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Atlético de Madrid. Stefan Savic replaces Ángel Correa.

Attempt missed. Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Héctor Bellerín.

Nacho Monreal (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ángel Correa (Atlético de Madrid).

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Saúl Ñíguez.

Attempt blocked. Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Mesut Özil.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Koke.

Attempt missed. Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Granit Xhaka with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Saúl Ñíguez.

Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ángel Correa (Atlético de Madrid).

Attempt blocked. Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Aaron Ramsey.

Substitution

Substitution, Atlético de Madrid. Gabi replaces Kevin Gameiro.

Foul by Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal).

Jan Oblak (Atlético de Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Mesut Özil.

goal

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