Nicolas Pepe’s second-half penalty gave Arsenal renewed hope of reaching the Europa League final despite a semi-final first-leg loss at Villarreal as both sides finished with 10 men.
With the Gunners trailing 2-0 and a man down following Dani Ceballos’ sending off, Pepe stepped up and fired home a precious away goal from the spot after Bukayo Saka had been tripped in the box.
It means Mikel Arteta’s side go into next Thursday’s second leg with genuine hope of reaching a second Europa League final in three seasons and with the potential of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
They appeared to be sinking without trace when Manu Trigueros fired in an early low, angled drive for the home side before Raul Albiol slammed home at the back post following Gerard Moreno’s flick-on from a corner.
Ceballos’ red card with 30 minutes left, courtesy of a second booking for standing on the boot of Daniel Parejo, looked to have sealed their fate.
But Bernd Leno produced two good saves to keep the home side at bay before Pepe – playing as a false nine – had his say.
Villarreal may still have fancied their chances of scoring again, but this was hampered when they too were reduced to 10 men, as Etienne Capoue shown a second yellow for a late tackle on Saka.
More to follow.
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- 8FoythSubstituted forPérez Martínezat 70′minutes
- 4TorresBooked at 37mins
- 24PedrazaSubstituted forMorenoat 80′minutes
- 25CapoueBooked at 80mins
- 14Trigueros MuñozSubstituted forGómez Bardonadoat 81′minutes
- 17AlcácerSubstituted forCoquelinat 45′minutes
- 2Pérez Martínez
- 6Funes Mori
- 23Gómez Bardonado
- 18ParteyBooked at 57mins
- 8CeballosBooked at 57mins
- 7SakaSubstituted forAubameyangat 85′minutesBooked at 90mins
- 11ØdegaardSubstituted forMartinelliat 63′minutes
- 19PépéSubstituted forWillianat 90+5′minutes
- 32Smith RoweSubstituted forElnenyat 90+5′minutes
- 17Cédric Soares
- 23David Luiz
- Artur Manuel Soares Dias
Match ends, Villarreal 2, Arsenal 1.
Second Half ends, Villarreal 2, Arsenal 1.
Attempt missed. Calum Chambers (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Willian with a cross following a corner.
Substitution, Arsenal. Willian replaces Nicolas Pépé.
Substitution, Arsenal. Mohamed Elneny replaces Emile Smith Rowe.
Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Gerónimo Rulli.
Attempt saved. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Thomas Partey.
Attempt missed. Gerard Moreno (Villarreal) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Francis Coquelin with a cross.
Offside, Villarreal. Daniel Parejo tries a through ball, but Gerard Moreno is caught offside.
Foul by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal).
Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal).
Raúl Albiol (Villarreal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Offside, Arsenal. Granit Xhaka tries a through ball, but Calum Chambers is caught offside.
Calum Chambers (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Alberto Moreno (Villarreal).
Substitution, Arsenal. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang replaces Bukayo Saka.
Offside, Arsenal. Granit Xhaka tries a through ball, but Nicolas Pépé is caught offside.
Foul by Calum Chambers (Arsenal).