Arsenal crash out of Europa League after Olympiacos score extra-time winner
Europa League, Last-32, Emirates Stadium - Arsenal 1 (Aubameyang 113’) Olympiacos 2 (Cisse 53’, El Arabi 120') (Aggregate: 2-2, Olympiacos win on away goals)
Arsenal crashed out of the Europa League at the round of 32 stage after conceding in the dying stages of extra-time to lose on away goals against Olympiacos.
Mikel Arteta's side were protecting a one-goal advantage from the first leg, but the visitors equalised on aggregate eight minutes into the second half when Pape Abou Cisse was left unmarked to head home from a corner.
Arsenal had toiled for much of the night in a below-par performance but thought they had won it when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck a wonderful 113th-minute overhead-kick.
The hosts were always vulnerable defensively, though, and another set-piece was their undoing when Youssef El Arabi struck in stoppage-time of extra-time to win it for the Greek side.
Aubameyang then went from hero to zero as he missed a gilt-edged chance with virtually the last kick of the game, slicing wide from five yards out with the goal at his mercy, as Arsenal's best chance of securing Champions League football next season disappeared.
TALKING POINT - Arsenal crash out on embarrassing night
Just when we thought Arsenal had turned the corner under Arteta. The Gunners had scored seven goals in their last two matches, four against Newcastle and three against Everton, but they failed to register a single shot on target until the 76th minute in a thoroughly depressing and toothless performance. Defensively they were shocking, conceding another two goals from set-pieces.
They were second-best all over the park. From Bernd Leno, who suffered a nightmarish evening in goal, to David Luiz who looked lost when his defensive partner Shkodran Mustafi was forced off with injury. Offensively, Mesut Ozil was again anonymous, Pepe tried hard but produced little, while Alexandre Lacazette frustrated after a couple of promising displays. Gabriel Martinelli injected energy and intensity, but his introduction came far too late.
Arteta will face huge questions after this no-show. With a top four (or top five) spot looking increasingly unlikely domestically, Europa League success was their most likely avenue to Europe's top competition. Where do they go from here?
MAN OF THE MATCH
Pape Abou Cisse (Olympiacos): Effective at both ends of the pitch, the defender was only deputising for a suspended team mate, but what an impact he made.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang erzielte ein Traumtor gegen Olympiakos AthenGetty Images
Olympiacos: Jose Sa 6, Elabdellaoui 6, Cisse 8, Ba 6, Tsimikas 6, Bouchalakis 7, Guilherme 6, Camara 6, Randjelovic 6, El-Arabi 7, Valbuena 6. Subs: Masouras 5, Lovera N/A, Papadopoulos N/A, Gaspar 5.
21' - Flash point! Arsenal break at the speed of light, Lacazette ushering through Pepe, who bursts through the centre but he's caught on the ankle by Ba. It's right on the edge of the penalty area. Was he the last man? The referee issues only a yellow card. He's fortunate.
53' - GOAL! Arsenal 1-1 Olympiacos (Cisse): The Emirates are stunned and the visitors are level on aggregate! In front of the lively travelling support, a corner is delivered and it's so easy for Cisse who is left unmarked to head past Leno.
113' - GOAL! Arsenal 1-1 Olympiacos (Aubameyang): Oh my, what a special goal! Barely involved all night, Aubameyang has potentially won the game with an over-head kick!
120' - GOAL! Arsenal 1-2 Olympiacos (El Arabi): Oh my word. Arsenal are going out of the Europa League. They fail to clear their lines from the corner, Masouras delivers another cross from the right, the defence hesitates abd El Arabi darts in to poke it home. Unbelievable.
120'+3 - HOW HAS HE MISSED?! Aubameyang has the goal at his mercy but somehow slices his shot wide from five yards. Arsenal are going out now, surely.
Olympiakos' French-born Moroccan striker Youssef El-Arabi celebrates after scoring their late goal in extra time during the UEFA Europa league round of 32 second leg football match between Arsenal and Olympiakos at the Emirates stadium in London on FebruaGetty Images
- Arsenal had progressed from all 17 of their European ties when winning the first leg away from home - before tonight.
- Including qualifiers, Olympiacos had won just two of their 32 European ties when losing the first leg, getting past FK Rad in the 1989-90 Uefa Cup, and Chornomorets Odesa in the 1992-93 European Cup Winners' Cup.