Dominant Arsenal have to put chances away in second leg against Benfica, says Bukayo Saka

The Gunners missed a host of clear opportunities to establish a first-leg lead

Mark Mann-Bryans
Friday 19 February 2021 12:23
Bukayo Saka celebrates for Arsenal
Bukayo Saka celebrates for Arsenal

Bukayo Saka insists Arsenal will progress in the Europa League if they repeat their performance against Benfica and take their chances in the second leg of their round-of-32 clash.

The Gunners drew 1-1 in the first leg on Thursday night as Saka’s sixth goal of the season cancelled out Pizzi’s penalty.

The game was played in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico due to current coronavirus travel restrictions - with Arsenal’s ‘home’ leg next week taking place in Athens.

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Saka tucked home a Cedric Soares cross less than three minutes after Mikel Arteta’s side had fallen behind, although captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed a number of good chances to give Arsenal the advantage.

Asked if Arsenal should take confidence from the performance in Rome, Saka told the club’s official website: “Yes, 100 per cent. If we play like that again then I feel like we just need to take our chances and we’ll definitely go through to the next round.

“We felt like we had the game in our hands from start to finish, we dominated them and we just needed to put our chances away.

“We conceded a goal that I didn’t think was a penalty, but that’s all they really created in the whole game. I think we dominated the game and we deserved more.”

With the tie finely poised, Arsenal face the unusual situation of hosting their home leg at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Greece - with away goals still a factor across the tie.

“I am positive,” Arteta insisted when asked about the second leg. “It’s really difficult to see what the ‘home’ game is going to be like.

“We’re going to be playing in Greece with no crowd and everything will be a bit strange but we’re going to go there to win the game.”


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