MAN OF THE MATCH
- 2nd Half
- Smith RowePartey63'
- 1st Half
Arsenal - Benfica
Follow the Europa League live Football match between Arsenal and Benfica with Eurosport. The match starts at 17:55 on 25 February 2021.
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Aubameyang with the goals but Saka the hero really with two brilliant assists.
Arsenal are through to the Round of 16 by the skin of their teeth and no thanks to Dani Ceballos...
The Gunners keep their season alive and crucially their hopes of landing a spot in next season's Champions League.
My word, Silva hits the post and it's offside anyway but my gosh what drama.
Long throw from Benfica...it's chaos inside the box and some very dodgy defending. 90 seconds to hold on.
If Arsenal go through now they've really got out of jail because they've played with fire tonight with some very sloppy play.
Two minutes to go...
Now, is there time for another twist?
GOAL! ARSENAL 3 BENFICA 2 (Aubameyang 87)
They've done it!
Arsenal have turned it around! Saka plays a brilliant ball into the back post and puts it on a plate for the captain to head in from three yards.
Arsenal are going through...surely!? VAR are having a look...
Balls in, headers out. That's pretty much the run of things right now. Arsenal have barely a man at the back though and look so fragile on the counter.
Straight up the other end Gabriel has an effort blocked by Tierney and if he isn't thoroughly winded by that I'll be amazed.
Arsenal waiting on that moment of magic. Benfica with plenty of men behind the ball.
Arsenal were knocked out by Olympiakos last year despite winning on this ground...
This game is end-to-end now, and either side could really grab a goal. Defending has disappeared, chaos reigns.
Grimaldo the latest to have a go but his effort is blocked.
But is it enough?
Lacazette is on for Bellerin...attacking change.
Up the other end, Saka blasts an effort high and wide.
Arsenal make another complete mess of it at the back but this time Benfica cannot take advantage.
The Portuguese side are two on one but Gabriel's ball into the middle is too close to Leno.
Just like that, Benfica almost have a third as substitute Gabriel wiggles his way into space and rifles an effort just wide.
Luiz goes for the glorious against his former club but hammers the effort wide.
This has turned into a really good game.
Arsenal are tormenting Benfica now who have 20 minutes to hold on.
I must say, the Gunners look the more likely right now despite Benfica's two away goals.
GOAL! ARSENAL 2 BENFICA 2 (Tierney, 67)
Arsenal are back in it!
They've been all over Benfica since the restart and it's Tierney who rifles a brilliant effort into the corner from just inside the box.
Mad game. Benfica are still going through as it stands but Arsenal just need one more now!
So, is that tie over? Arsenal now need two more goals to go through.
Ceballos gave away the needless free-kick in the first half and has completely messed up for the second too. There's a lack of communication somewhere, and it's cost Arsenal dearly.
The midfielder is off now, his nightmare is over.
GOAL! ARSENAL 1 BENFICA 2 (Rafa, 63)
What a calamity.
Arsenal were finally getting back into this one but they've shot themselves in the foot once again.
Helton lumps a long ball up top and Ceballos is at fault once again as his header back to Leno is intercepted by Rafa Silva who rounds the 'keeper and slots into an empty net.
Some pinball football inside the box as Arsenal again put a few dangerous balls into the dangerzone. Bellerin's cross is the pick of the bunch but is just an inch or two over the head of Aubameyang.
Arsenal growing back into the game now.
Much better from Arsenal who thread about 40 passes together without interruption. They can't find a way through but at least they have the ball...
Benfica looking very dangerous on the edge of the box and Arsenal are giving them a yard or two too much space as far as I'm concerned.
Benfica know that one goal will all but win them the tie and that is reflected in their confidence and Arsenal's nerves.
It's a carbon copy of his first and Aubameyang has the ball in the net again!
BUT....the flag is up. And he does look perhaps a yard offside. VAR confirm the decision.
Great finish though.
Sure enough, Benfica have made the better start here and are pinging some nice passes around.
They look the more confident side.
In the end, half-time came at the perfect time for Arsenal who looked rattled by that Benfica equaliser.
Remember that if Benfica score again Arsenal would need two more to progress, so they really cannot afford any more mistakes.
AND WE'RE BACK
Arsenal were coasting through this one but a beautiful free-kick has them rattled and we're all square again - 2-2 on aggregate.
Some big half-time team talks coming up.
You have to say, it's a classic Arsenal moment.
They've dominated the half but a silly mistake and they find themselves level just before half time. That goal has killed their momentum.
But what a goal.
GOAL! ARSENAL 1 BENFICA 1 (Goncalves, 42')
What. A. Goal.
Benfica are right back in this with the most brilliant free-kick by Goncalves.
Ceballos gives away a free-kick 25 yards out...dangerous.
Smith-Rowe finds Saka through the middle and his shot is well saved by Helton...
A potential offside I think but Helton didn't know that and it's a brilliant save
Smith-Rowe dinks a lovely ball into Aubameyang who is making some very clever runs in behind but this time he's just caught an inch or two offside...
Just over five minutes of the half to go...
Arsenal do look like a side prioritising this competition as their route into the Champions League and a chance at silverware.
They're doing plenty of running, more so than I've seen them do in the Premier League...
Free-kick to Benfica in a dangerous position and Arsenal just looking a little bit tense.
Pizzi swings the ball in and Vertonghen leaps highest but his header is over the bar. Imagine that, a former Spurs man.
So far so good for Arsenal then. Benfica have yet to create an opening and the Gunners look composed.
Arteta is on the sidelines shouting, perhaps making sure his side don't sit on this precarious lead.
BACK ON FORM
Odegaard playing some classy passes but he gives the ball away now as he goes for the Hollywood pass. I don't mind that to be honest, would have looked great had it come off and the vision was there.
So, Arsenal 2-1 up on aggregate and heading through to the round-of-16 as things stand.
Can Benfica respond? Arsenal well on top at the moment with Tierney their bright spark in defence letting little get past him.
Aubameyang at his best that.
This should be an exercise in game management now for Arsenal but one Benfica goal could send this to extra-time and penalties...
It doesn't look likely at the moment as Arsenal go in search of a second.
GOAL! ARSENAL 1 BENFICA 0 (Aubameyang, 21)
Saka plays a brilliant reverse pass into Aubameyang who dinks the ball over Helton with his first touch.
It's a goal of real quality and perfect timing.
Best of moment of the match.
Odegaard pings and inch-perfect ball across to Tierney who picks Smith-Rowe out in the box. The midfielder's effort is blocked but that was rapid stuff from Arsenal and what a ball from Odegaard!
Truth be told, when Benfica start knocking it around the edge of the Arsenal box they look the more dangerous side.
Lots of little electric runners that look more than capable of bamboozling this Arsenal defence.
Almost 20 minutes gone.
Saka is some player and looks the most likely player to help Arsenal break the deadlock.
The Gunners are on top but still no chances to show for it but for a long-range Xhaka effort straight at Helton.
Benfica finally string a few passes together but Arsenal keep shape.
The Portuguese side are set up to contain this match and maybe nick a goal on the counter with their pace up top.
And Goncalves almost does just that with a few touches inside the Gunners' box but Tierney blocks.
A good start from Arsenal this - they look in control and are seeing plenty of the ball.
Xhaka sprays a pass out left to Aubameyang who cuts inside and has a go but it's an easy save for Helton.
Another Premier League throwback as Adel Taraabt clatters Aubameyang to give away a foul. He also picks up an early booking.
Benfica's Pizzi is the Europa League's top scorer this season with seven goals and he's pressing that Arsenal backline here, looking to force a mistake.
The Portuguese side are looking lively on the counter.
Ceballos makes an early surging run through the middle as Arsenal take all the possession in the first 90 seconds.
Former Man City man Nicolas Otamendi makes the tackle eventually and passes sideways for Jan Vertonghen. Premier League vintage.
HERE WE GO
THREE MINUTE WARNING
Remember, we're 1-1 on aggregate, Arsenal have the away goal.
90 minutes to go...
So technically Arsenal are at home, but realistically they are at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium, Greece. That's the home of Olympiakos if anyone was wondering.
Covid-19 travel restrictions have meant that the first (away) leg was played in Rome, and that this one is in Greece.
Does that make sense? I have no idea anymore.
100 UP FOR LENO
The teamsheet shows just how seriously Arteta is taking this one. A very strong lineup indeed with Aubameyang leading the line.
Thomas Partey is on the bench though, presumably not quite ready for a start on his retur from injury.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE POTENTIAL
Of course, a place in the round-of-16 isn't all that's at stake.
The winner of the Europa League qualifies automatically for the Champions League...and with Arsenal's hopes of a domestic top-four finish all but over, this could be their only way in.
So yes, it is a big deal.
BENFICA TEAM NEWS
ARSENAL TEAM NEWS
ARSENAL VS BENFICA
A very good evening to you all and welcome to our live-text coverage of Arsenal vs Benfica!
It's second-leg time. These two couldn't be separated in the first as Saka rescued a 1-1 draw for Arsenal and scored that crucial away goal to take to...Greece.
A goalless draw will send the Gunners through, but Benfica are no pushovers.
The stakes - a place in the round-of-16...
Plenty to play for and 90 minutes to play it in...so stay with us for all the build-up, hype and highlights ahead of kick-off at 5.55pm.