10-man Atletico and Arsenal end 1-1 in Europa semifinal

Wenger reveals timing of his Arsenal departure was not his call

If any game could sum up the latter years of Arsene Wenger's reign as Arsenal manager, the night they dominated Atletico Madrid but ended up with a draw is surely the flawless example of precisely what has been wrong at the club for the best part of a decade.

Arsenal drew 1-1 against Atletico Madrid at the Emirates Stadium in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League semi final as Mohamed Elneny remains out for the rest of the season.

"We could have qualified tonight but it didn't happen".

Atleti's defensive obduracy was on full display as they battled with reduced numbers and LaLiga's second-placed team have not conceded in any of the past 11 matches at the Wanda Metropolitano.

But the Spaniards' usual pragmatism deserted them as they self-combusted in the opening 13 minutes.

So early in the contest, Atletico may have expected referee Clement Turpin to limit punishment to a stern and final warning.

Despite their numerical advantage, the Gunners failed to find a way through until Lacazette rose to nod in Jack Wilshere's cross.

"Jan is the best in the world at this time", Griezmann said.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said conceding late on when his team was in control was a disappointment, especially as the task in hand after taking the lead was to make sure his team was not caught out by a long ball.

But with eight minutes remaining Griezmann latched onto a long ball forward, shrugged off Laurent Koscielny and stabbed into the net at the second attempt for an away goal to swing the tie Atletico's way going into the second leg in Madrid next Thursday.

"We wanted to win before the manager announced he was leaving and we want to win after it as well".

"I hope the fans make a insane atmosphere, that they want to see us go to the final".

Paul Dalton: Arsenal's defence was under next to no pressure for almost the whole game but made a mess of the one situation they had to deal with. Seeing him at the end lift the trophy, that would be the icing on the cake.

BC-SOC-Arsenal-Atletico Madrid, 1st Ld-Writethru, 50110-man Atletico and Arsenal end 1-1 in Europa semifinalAP Photo XTS146, XTS147, XTS137, XTS136Eds: Adds details, quotes by Simeone, Wenger.

"I think looking at the performance and the way the game went it was the worst possible result for us".

There was a far more highly-charged atmosphere for Wenger's penultimate home game in charge than there had been for last weekend's game against West Ham United.

Wenger has twice lost in European finals with Arsenal, missing out in a penalty shootout against Galatasaray in the 2000 Uefa Cup final, before being broken down by Barcelona in the Champions League final six years later.

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