Though Arsenal cinched a precious away goal, Roma head coach Unai Emery led his team to a 2-1 win. And here are the reactions to Emery avenging Arsenal, his former club.
Roma scored within the five minutes of the start via Manu Trigueros.
Then, just before the half-hour mark, Raúl Albiol, assisted by Gerard Moreno, extended the lead to 2-0.
Nicolas Pépé converted a penalty at the 73rd minute and gave his team the late consolation of an away goal.
Reactions to Emery Avenging Arsenal
Prior to the bout, we predicted that Emery would go to any extent to beat his former bosses.
Moreover, Unai Emery is a Europa League master, and the ex-Arsenal manager would secure at least a 1-1 draw.
And this is close to what happened, except Villareal maintain an even better 2-0 lead for over an hour.
Villarreal head coach Unai Emery has summed up the semi-final match in Europa League, his area of expertise.
“We had chances to score a third goal – that was our plan. The penalty in our goal was undeserved and overall we deserved to win,” Emery told BT Sport.
While saying nothing about beating his former club, Emery added: “As we go away, we will follow the same plan: to control the game and prove ourselves.”
Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta also talked about the match, admitting that they weren’t themselves for most of the match.
“Two different halves. [In the second half] we became ourselves. In the first half there were a lot of moments where we weren’t ourselves,” the coach told BT Sport.
“There was a lack of control. Lack of threat and desire to attack the opponent’s penalty area. In the second half it was completely different.”
“We didn’t want to come here and lose, but as the game progressed we needed a result. If we have to lose, that’s probably the best result we could have got,” he said.
About his players, he said in particular: “We are very used to Saka playing well this season, but it shows we need to do more as we can’t always rely on him. Leno was very good, he saved us in the Moreno episode. Aubameyang had a good moment to equalise.”
“I’m sure we have a chance to win,” he finished, firm on not giving up hope before the second leg.
Arsenal midfielder Bukayo Saka has said to BBC: “There was a lot of good stuff in the second half. It’s a semi-final, and to start the game like that… We didn’t create anything, we were passive, we lost every single tackle.”
“Happy that in the second half we pulled ourselves together and gave ourselves a chance at the Emirates”, he continued.
With only ten players on the pitch after a red card, Arsenal recovered late in the game.
“We showed that we are better than them, even with ten men, so it all depends on us,” he remarked. “When we play properly, we can beat anyone.”