LONDON: Outgoing Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had to witness an all too familiar defensive lapse as his side failed to cash in on a man advantage over Athletico Madrid for well over 80 minutes. The first leg of the Europa League semi-final ended in a 1-1 draw.
Left back Vrsaljko had been booked for bringing down Jack Wilshere in just under 2 minutes from kick off and was shown a second yellow at the 10 minute mark for a late challenge on Lacazette. The fiery Madrid manager was also banished shortly afterwards for taking his protests too far when an Arsenal player wasn't booked for what he thought was a similar foul. The Gunners did everything in their power to create chances and find space within the ranks of the Spanish side but to no avail. It was only at the stroke of the hour that Alexandre Lacazette headed them in front from a Wilshere cross. Every outfield player in a Red jersey provided a chance but some comical defending 8 minutes from time cost them dearly as Griezmann outmuscled Arsenal skipper Laurent Koscielny only to have his initial effort saved by David Ospina and then later took advantage from a slip by Shkodran Mustafi to bring the game to a draw.
After the match Madrid manager said "You don't have any idea how hard it is to defend and defend and defend. You have to have huge balls to defend for more than 80 minutes like that. These players of Atletico Madrid are heroes to resist like that. Next week the stadium has to explode with positive energy. We can play well or badly but you don't see this commitment everywhere. I have goosebumps thinking about next week already.”