Arsenal narrowly escapes CSKA Moscow's surge to book semi-final spot

Alicia Farmer
April 13, 2018

Arsenal qualified for the Europa League semi-final stage in Moscow on Thursday night, despite a spirited effort from CSKA to stage a daring and dramatic comeback in their Europa League 2nd leg quarter-final.

"You could see when you have a big difference after the first game it is hard to turn up with the same urgency than if the difference is very small and that played a part in the first half", Wenger said.

Lazio, who are third in Serie A, led 4-2 from the first leg in Rome and increased their advantage when Ciro Immobile scored his eighth goal in this season's competition in the 55th minute but Salzburg equalised a minute later through Munas Dabbur. It was a good response from us after the break, the first half the distances were too big.

The hosts, spurred on by a 29,000 crowd, went ahead six minutes before the interval when Chalov followed in to score after Petr Cech had saved low down from Nababkin.

"We need to have more confidence in our game".

"So, let's prepare well for the semi-final and see who we play".

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In a week that has seen Roma shock Barcelona and Juventus nearly beat Real Madrid in remarkable UEFA Champions League quarter-final matches, much of the pre-match talk in Russian Federation focused on the need for Arsenal to put in a professional performance to defend their 4-1 first-leg advantage.

With Arsenal effectively out of the top-four race in the Premier League as they trail fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur by 13 points with just six games left in the campaign, the Europa League is their sole chance of ensuring participation in next season's UEFA Champions league.

Captain Laurent Koscielny said Arsenal put pressure on themselves by not competing properly in the first half with a spirited CSKA side.

"No, it was not the plan [to sit back]", he said. "We always believed in it, and that makes a lot of difference".

"We didn't win duels".

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