Arsenal 1-1 Atletico Madrid: Simeone’s men secure vital away goalApril 26, 2018
Antoine Griezmann’s late goal secured a first leg draw at the Emirates for Atletico Madrid and gave them the edge in their Europa League semi-final against Arsenal.
The game couldn’t have began any worse for Atletico with the visitors reduced to ten men after just nine minutes.
Sime Vrsaljko was booked after just 70 seconds for bringing down Jack Wilshere as he tried to race towards goal and he received his second yellow and subsequent red when he came in late on Alexandre Lacazette.
Hector Bellerin was then penalised for a foul on Lucas Hernandez but the loud protests from Atleti boss Diego Simeone were deemed overzealous by referee Clement Turpin and he was sent to the stands.
Arsenal were of course in control of possession now and had a number of chances to open the scoring.
Lacazette directed a half volley wide before also seeing his header kept out by Jan Oblak. Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal also went close but their best chance fell the way of Danny Welbeck.
The Englishman tried to slot past Oblak on the angle but the Slovenian kept the ball out with his foot as Arsenal went in at the break wondering how they weren’t in front.
However they could well have been behind, a great run from Thomas Partey, deputising for Vrsaljko at right back, ended with the ball falling to Antoine Griezmann but his snapshot was easily pushed away by David Ospina.
Atleti started the second half brighter than the first but struggled to create any clear cut chances and Arsenal eventually broke the deadlock just beyond the hour mark.
Jack Wilshere got the ball on the left and clipped it to the back post where Lacazette rose highest to nod past Oblak and send the home fans into raptures.
Atletico seemed content with a one goal deficit and if anyone was likely to score, it was Arsenal, but with eight minutes left that all changed.
Jose Gimenez played a long ball forward towards Griezmann who was kept onside by Monreal, he held off Koscielny and despite his original shot being kept out by Ospina, he was first to react to the loose ball which he fired into the roof of the net to give Los Colchoneros a vital away goal.
Arsenal had one last big chance to take a lead to Madrid with them and it fell the way of Aaron Ramsey but he was denied by a fantastic diving save from Oblak and it’s advantage Atletico in next week’s second leg.
Arsenal: Ospina; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Ramsey, Xhaka; Ozil, Wilshere, Welbeck; Lacazette
Atletico Madrid: Oblak; Vrsaljko, Gimenez, Godin, Lucas; Correa (Savic, 75), Thomas, Saul, Koke; Griezmann (Torres, 85), Gameiro (Gabi, 65)