Arsenal 3 Valencia 1: Lacazette brace turns first leg on its head

Posted Friday, May 03, 2019 by

Arsenal 3 Valencia 1: Lacazette brace turns first leg on its head
alencia will take an away goal back to Mestalla, but Marcelino's men trail Arsenal 3-1 after the first leg of the Europa League semi-final.

Alexandre Lacazette scored twice as Arsenal came from behind to beat Valencia 3-1 at home in the first leg of the Europa League semi-final.

Mouctar Diakhaby headed Valencia into an early lead at Emirates Stadium on Thursday but within 14 minutes the Gunners had turned the tie around.

Lacazette first finished off a swift counter-attack involving Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang before heading home Granit Xhaka's cross to put Unai Emery's men in front.

And the Spaniard, a three-time winner of the competition with Sevilla, will take a two-goal lead back to former club Valencia for next week's second leg after Aubameyang struck late on.

Arsenal trailed in the 11th minute, having already failed to heed a warning from a Dani Parejo set piece that was eventually turned over the crossbar by Ezequiel Garay.

His defensive colleague Diakhaby would not make the same mistake, nodding in at the back post when Rodrigo Moreno headed Parejo's corner back across goal, but Valencia's advantage did not last long.

Ozil and Lacazette combined well to send Aubameyang through with the Gabon international superbly teeing up his strike partner to tuck home.

And Arsenal took the lead in the 25th minute, with Lacazette's downward header from a fine left-wing Xhaka cross parried into his own goal by Neto, via the post.

Parejo's free-kick flew over the crossbar while Lacazette somehow missed a golden chance to seal his hat-trick by failing to connect with Aubameyang's centre.

Lacazette wasted an even clearer opportunity in the 68th minute, firing straight at Neto from close-range and again failing to beat the goalkeeper on the rebound.

Petr Cech denied Kevin Gameiro and the striker volleyed over as Valencia launched a late rally.

It was Arsenal who struck a potentially decisive blow, though. Neto kept out Lacazette brilliantly but was unable to stop Aubameyang from turning home Sead Kolasinac's deep cross.

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