Sigh of relief for Leno as Arsenal beat Rapid Vienna despite big mistake

Date published: Thursday 22nd October 2020 7:52

Arsenal came from behind to claim a 2-1 victory over Rapid Vienna in their first game of the Europa League group stage.

Having qualified for the tournament as FA Cup winners, Arsenal were looking to get off to a good start. But they made more hard work of their visit to Austria than they would have liked.

Thomas Partey made his highly anticipated first start in an Arsenal shirt. Cedric Soares, Sead Kolasinac and Alexandre Lacazette were among the other players to come into the side.


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Partey marked his full debut with a yellow card in the first half, but overall, was one of the standout performers, giving Arsenal a glimspe of what he will bring. However, it took the team as a whole some time to get going.

Arsenal fell behind early in the second half. After receiving the ball from David Luiz, Bernd Leno played a loose pass out from his box, which was intercepted by Ercan Kara.

Kara played it to Taxiarchis Fountas, who fired home from a tight angle to give Rapid Vienna the lead.

Lightning nearly struck in the same place twice when a Leno clearance fell to Fountas soon after, but his shot went wide this time.

Arsenal turn it around

At the other end, Arsenal got back on level terms thanks to a set piece. Luiz headed home a cross from Nicolas Pepe to restore parity.

But Leno gave the Gunners another nervous moment when rushing out of his goal to get in a mix-up with Luiz. The ball fell to Fountas again, but he was too far out to make the most of it.

Fortunately for Arsenal, they managed to get the next goal. Mohamed Elneny picked out Hector Bellerin with a through ball, before the Spaniard squared it to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for a tap in to make it 2-1.

Bellerin and Aubameyang had both come on as substitutes, but they combined to great effect. It was Elneny’s excellent pass that made the goal, though – and it proved to be the winner.

Leno received a yellow card late on for timewasting, becoming the eighth player between the two sides to be booked.

Elsewhere in the group, Molde beat Dundalk by the same 2-1 scoreline.

 

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