Arsenal 1-1 Slavia Prague: Gunners held in Europa League quarter-final first leg
Match report as Tomas Holes’ late header gives Slavia Prague 1-1 draw at the Emirates in first leg of Europa League quarter-final; Arsenal had appeared on course for victory after Nicolas Pepe’s 86th-minute strike; the two sides meet again next Thursday in Prague
Tomas Holes’ injury-time header saw Slavia Prague earn a 1-1 draw at Arsenal in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final.
The tie had appeared destined to be heading for a goalless draw after the home side missed numerous promising openings at the Emirates.
However, with just four minutes left to play, substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang slipped Nicolas Pepe through on goal and the Ivory Coast forward kept his cool to dink the ball past the advancing Slavia No 1 Ondrej Kolar for his fourth Europa League goal of the season.
But just as Arsenal thought they had gained a slender lead heading into next Thursday night’s second leg in the Czech capital, up popped Holes to head home at the far post to burst the Gunners’ bubble.
How stubborn Slavia frustrated Arsenal
Arsenal would have known ahead of kick-off just what a tough test awaited them in what was their 16th major European quarter-final and nothing that happened in the first half would have changed their mind, with Slavia proving typically stubborn opponents.
The visitors, who eliminated both Leicester City and Rangers in the previous two knockout rounds, actually had the first effort on goal when Lukas Provod fired narrowly over the bar from the edge of the area, but were quite content to defend deep in numbers thereafter.
However, despite their opponents being largely happy to sit back and play on the counter, Arsenal struggled to create any clear-cut openings in a lacklustre first half, although Bukayo Saka should have done better when played through on goal just before the half-hour mark.