Arsenal and Benfica play out 1-1 draw in Rome
Soccer Football – Europa League – Round of 32 First Leg – Benfica v Arsenal – Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy – February 18, 2021 Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka celebrates scoring their first goal [REUTERS/Alberto Lingria]

Bukayo Saka earned Arsenal a 1-1 draw at Benfica in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie on Thursday.

The youngster slotted home from close range in the 57th minute just after Benfica grabbed the lead with Pizzi’s penalty.

A draw was the least Arsenal deserved as they carved out some great chances in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, which was hosting the game because of COVID-19 travel restrictions between Portugal and the UK.

Arsenal and Benfica play out 1-1 draw in Rome
Soccer Football – Europa League – Round of 32 First Leg – Benfica v Arsenal – Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy – February 18, 2021 Benfica’s Pizzi scores their first goal from the penalty spot [REUTERS/Alberto Lingria]

Saka should have scored again, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang suffered an off night and somehow missed the target from close range in the first half.

The tempo dropped in the latter stages with both sides going into next week’s second leg, being played in Athens, with high hopes of making progress.

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