Villarreal 2-1 Arsenal: Pepe's goal gives Arsenal hope of reaching Europa League final (Match Highlights)
Nicolas Pepe gave Arsenal a lifeline in their hunt for Champions League football next season after scoring a penalty to give the gunners a crucial away goal in their Europa League semi-final first leg loss at Villarreal.
Arsenal were two goals down and a man down after Dani Cebbalos was sent off.
Pepe took responsibility and scored a very important away goal from the penalty spot to boost their chances of reaching the Europa League final.
As a result of this Mikel Arteta's side will go into next Thursday's second leg with a realistic hope of reaching their second Europa League final in three seasons.
Arsenal struggled early on in the match as Manu Trigueros opened the scoring with a low drive into the angle of the net for the hosts.
Before Raul Albiol made it 2-0 after he was left unmarked at the back post.
Ceballos' red card with 30 minutes to go seemed to have ended Arsenal's hope after the Real Madrid loanee received a second yellow card for standing on the boot of Daniel Parejo.
But Bernd kept the gunners in the game with two good saves before Pepe pulled one back for the visitors.
Villarreal also ended the game with 10 men as Etienne Capoue was shown a second yellow for a late tackle on Saka.
Former Arsenal manager Unai Emery who is in charge of the yellow submarines will go into the second leg with the advantage but he will be aware that they can't afford to make any mistakes at the Emirates.
"Disappointed that we lost the game." - Mikel Arteta
💬 "The fact that we conceded really early in the game really affected us. We lost our organisation, we were really stretched and there were big distances between the lines that we could not join together with the ball."— Arsenal (@Arsenal) April 29, 2021