Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 31 March 2020

'Don't know how I missed' - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after Arsenal crash out of Europa League

Missed opportunity in final minute against Olympiacos ends campaign

Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after missing a scoring opportunity against Olympiacos. Reuters
Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after missing a scoring opportunity against Olympiacos. Reuters

Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang went through the full range of emotions as the Gunners were knocked out of the Europa League on Thursday.

On a night when Portuguese sides Porto, Benfica and Sporting Lisbon were all eliminated and one of the country’s recent exports – Bruno Fernandes – led Manchester United’s progress to the last 16, the biggest drama happened at Emirates Stadium and Aubameyang was at the centre of it.

The Gabon striker scored in the 113th minute to equalise for Arsenal at 1-1 against Olympiacos and put his team 2-1 ahead on aggregate in the second leg of the round of 32.

When Youssef El Arabi prodded home in the 119th, Olympiakos led on away goals but there was still time for one last chance for Arsenal, and it fell to their most lethal striker in the third and final minute of stoppage time.

This time, though, Aubameyang somehow managed to shoot wide from the edge of the six-yard box with the goal at his mercy.

Aubameyang fell to his knees and covered his face with his hands, having not long earlier been mobbed by his teammates after his acrobatic goal. “I feel very, very bad,” he said. “It can happen but I do not know how I missed this chance. I was tired, I had some cramps but it is not an excuse.”

However, former Arsenal defender Martin Keown showed no mercy as criticised the team for an "unprofessional" performance.

"There were so many disappointments in that performance. There were so many unprofessional performances from players. Such a poor game for Arsenal," Keown said.

"It was the first time I felt that the players were not responding to the manager and the manager didn't know what changes to make.

"If you break down the performance you could have looked at every player and say they could have all done more. Nicolas Pepe is going to have to improve. Gabriel Martinelli should have come on a lot earlier. Granit Xhaka was taking the easy way out."

Updated: February 28, 2020 11:34 AM

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