Antoine Griezmann scores as 10-man Atletico Madrid hold Arsenal to 1-1 draw

Antoine Griezmann scores as 10-man Atletico Madrid hold Arsenal to 1-1 draw

- The Gunners were held to a 1-1 draw by Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Europa League semi final clash

- Lacazette scored for Arsenal in the 61st minute, while Griezmann equaliser came in the 82nd minute

- Both teams file out for the second leg of the meeting next week in Spain

Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw by visiting Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Europa League semi final clash at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday night.

Alexandre Lacazette opened scoring for the Gunners in the 61st minute after benefiting from Jack Wilshere's superb cross from the left wing of Atletico's defense.

But eight minutes to the end of the match, France international, Antoine Griezmann salvaged a point for the Spanish League side after both teams had endured a goalless first half in the meeting.

Griezmann took advantage of poor defending from Koscielny and Mustafi to punish the Gunners few minutes before the final whistle was sounded.

The Premier League side got the game started in their traditional red jersey and white short with the hosts getting settled into the game earlier than their guests.

They controlled most part of the possession with the Spanish League side soaking pressure from the advances of the home team controlling 83% of the possession as early as the 5th minute of the game.

Arsene Wenger's men continued to pressure their Atletico for an early goal, but their closest chance at goal came in the 6th minute with Lacazette's volley hitting the woodworks.

Two minutes later, Jan Oblak made his first save of the game by denying another Lacazetter's effort headed for the net.

Meanwhile, Sime Vrsaljko was given a marching order in the 10th minute after receiving a second yellow card for his dangerous tackle on the Frenchman.

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Two minutes later, coach Diego Simeone was also sent to the stands by the official after reacting to the red card Vrsaljko given in the early minutes of the match.

By the 15th minute, the visitors had gained more confidence as they contended with the home team over the possession of the ball.

In the 21st minute, Jan Oblak made an impressive save from Danny Welbeck's effort to ensure they remain goalless in the game.

The two teams continued to mount pressure on themselves in search of the first goal of the match, but the first 45 minutes ended goalless.

Having rested for 15 minutes, both teams came back onto the pitch to resume hostilities for the rest of the game.

Atletico Madrid, who were coachless for most part of the game came out of the tunnel with the intention of breaking the deadlock in the early minutes of the second half, but most of their efforts were either saved by Arsenal goalkeeper, Ospina or intercepted by the Gunners' players.

Oblak dusted Aaron Ramsey's long range shot in the 53rd minute, but a quick attempt by his teammates to launch a quick attack was intercepted by Arsenal players.

Arsenal eventually broke the deadlock in the 61st minute with a fine header fromm Lacazette through a superb cross from Wilshere.

The home team grew more in confidence after the goal as they took the game to Atletico's half and played most part of the game in the opponent's half of the field.

Despite the numerous chances created by Wenger's men, most of them failed to hit the target, a performance that they got punished for as Griezmann grabbed an equaliser for the guests late in the game.

At the end of the game, Arsenal had eight shots on target while their opponent had five. Twelve of their shots at goal went off target while the Spanish side only had one shot off target.

The Gunners played 11 corners and Atletico were only able to play one corner for the entire 90 minutes.

Diego Simeone’s men are currently second on La Liga table – meaning that if they lose out of the competition at this stage, they will qualify to play in the Champions League next season.

They are two time champions of the Europa League – first in 2010 and came back to claim the prize in the 2011-12 season.

Atletico were close to winning the Champions League three times – in 1974, 2014 and 2016 but they failed on the three occasions, two of them to their city rivals, Real Madrid.

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Source: Naija.ng

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