Lackluster Arsenal concede late goal, draw Vitoria
Arsenal dropped their first points in the UEFA Europa League as they drew 1-1 at Vitoria SC in Guimares, Portugal on Wednesday.
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For the Gunners it was a case of yet another late goal conceded after being ahead.
Shkodran Mustafi nodded home late on as Arsenal looked to be heading home for a win with their only effort on target, but Bruno Duarte’s superb overhead kick in stoppage time snatched a draw for Vitoria.
A much-changed side didn’t play well at all against Vitoria as the pressure remains on Unai Emery shoulders. With the draw Arsenal remain top of Group F and on course to reach the Round of 32, but they will only reach the knockout round on Thursday if Standard Liege lose to Eintracht Frankfurt.
The home side came flying out of the traps as Pepe smashed the post with a superb strike from distance and then Emiliano Martinez was forced into a fine stop to deny a curling effort from the edge of the box.
Davidson’s cross was inches away from Duarte converting as the home side continued to dominate, as Martinez saved Tapsoba’s header before the break.
Mustafi sent a header just over in the second half as Arsenal improved marginally, while Dani Ceballos hobbled off with an injury to give Emery further selection issues.
Vitoria battled hard to keep their chances of getting out of the group stage alive, but Mustafi nodded home Nicolas Pepe’s fantastic free kick to grab a victory for the Gunners.
1-0 to the Arsenal...
Wolves loanee Leo Bonatini smashed a late effort over the bar as Vitoria looked dead and buried but then Duarte finished superbly to make it 1-1 and set up a grandstand finish.
A cross then deflected off Mustafi and flew inches wide of the post as from the resulting corner Rochinha’s volley was agonzingly close for Vitoria.
The home side have crashed out of the Europa League but they do so with their heads held high, which is more than can be said for Arsenal.