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Mikel Arteta warned that Arsenal must be more ruthless after having to settle for a 1-1 draw with Benfica in all 32 Europa League games in the first leg at the Stadio Olimpico.
Bukayo Saka leveled just over two minutes after Pizzi opened the scoring from the penalty spot, with Emile Smith Rowe punished for tampering with a Diogo Goncalves cross in the second half in Rome on Thursday.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang inexplicably squandered a glorious opportunity to put the Gunners ahead in the first half and the captain missed another pair of chances five days after scoring a hat-trick against Leeds United.
Saka’s away goal in the first of two games played at neutral venues due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions gives the Premier League club a slight advantage.
However, Arsenal manager Arteta was frustrated by his squad’s waste, leaving the tie in good shape before the second leg at Athens’ Georgios Karaiskakis stadium next Thursday.
“We were very dominant and created great opportunities,” he told BT Sport. “We have to be more ruthless.
“The way we conceded the goal was disappointing. We gave them the ball and then it was 1-1 and everything to play.
“We conceded a corner and then, from the corner, we didn’t react fast enough and we conceded the penalty. Looking at it, it’s hard to judge. We had a great reaction and we scored a great goal.
“We try to maintain the level. Both teams fell in the last 20 minutes, but in general we should leave the field with more ”.
– AUB (@ Aubameyang7) February 18, 2021
Saka knows Arsenal have little room for error after the 19-year-old became the youngest player in the Premier League to have scored 10 or more goals and provided at least 10 assists since the start of last season.
The versatile English international said: “It’s about managing the game. Last year when we went to Olympiakos we conceded a stupid goal. We cannot put a false foot because if we do it we make it difficult ”.