Arsenal proved their mettle with late Europe League comeback against Benfica, says Kieran Tierney

Full-back scored the equaliser before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s last-gasp header sent the Gunners into the round of 16

Mark Mann-Bryans
Friday 26 February 2021 10:50 GMT
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<p>Kieran Tierney celebrates scoring against Benfica</p>

Kieran Tierney celebrates scoring against Benfica

Kieran Tierney insists Arsenal’s late Europa League win over Benfica proves the Gunners can triumph through adversity.

A Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang header with three minutes remaining was enough to swing the tie in favour of Arsenal, who had been heading out on away goals before their skipper nodded in a Bukayo Saka cross to make it 3-2 on the night.

That was enough to see Mikel Arteta’s side advance into the last 16 despite making life hard for themselves in Athens.

This was Arsenal’s ‘home’ leg but due to current coronavirus travel restrictions it was played 2,000 miles away at the Gerogios Karaiskakis Stadium.

Arsenal went a goal ahead through Aubameyang only for Diogo Goncalves to level with a fine free-kick and Rafa Silva to put Benfica ahead following an error from Dani Ceballos.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates scoring the winner

Arsenal needed to score twice to progress into the next round and pulled one back through a low Tierney strike before Saka stood up a cross to the back post, where Aubameyang was on hand to head in a dramatic 87th-minute winner.

“We all make mistakes all the time,” Tierney said after the win. “Sometimes they get punished and sometimes they don’t but in European competition they are going to (get punished) and they did.

“We bounced back the best way we possibly could and I think it is a good step for us to show we can face adversity, come back and go through.

“We never seem to do it the easy way. But credit to the boys we had some tough moments out there and some setbacks but to bounce back, score and go through to the next round is all that matters.”

Tierney refused to be drawn on how far he believes Arsenal can go in this season’s competition - which presents them with their best chance of qualifying for European football next year.

“We are taking it game by game,” he added. “We are not looking too far ahead, we have a big game on Sunday as well, the games are coming fast right now so we can only look at one game at at time.

“I’m happy - I wouldn’t have cared who scored, I just wanted to get the goals as quickly as we could and Aubameyang, as he always does in the big moments, produced.”

PA

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