Borisov: Arsenal “deserved to win” despite slumping to a stunning 1-0 defeat at BATE Borisov in Thursday’s Europa League last-32 tie, according to manager Unai Emery.
Arsenal, who had scored 10 goals in two games against the Belarusian side in the same competition in 2017, conceded at the stroke of half-time from a set piece and Emery’s side now need to win by at least two goals at home to advance.
“We deserved to win but did not get the result. They were very organised,” Emery said. “The first half was a good performance, we had chances to score. Defensively when they were 1-0 up they were organised and competitive.
“We play another 90 minutes next week and I am sure it’s going to be different. Our big opportunity is next week at home, I trust in our players and in our stadium with our supporters.”
Emery also shut down a question on midfielder Mesut Ozil’s exclusion from the squad that travelled to Belarus despite his return to training.
“Those that were here, we can win with them and we deserved that,” Emery said. “Last week we won (at Huddersfield) and we played with the same players. We can win with every player and lose with the same players.”
Striker Alexandre Lacazette was shown a straight red card in the 85th minute for felling Aleksandar Filipovic with an elbow and the Frenchman apologised for his actions after the game.
“Letting the team down like that is the worst feeling,” Lacazette wrote on Twitter. “I should have stayed calm but it’s not always easy. Sorry.
“There are still 90 minutes to play and I believe that my teammates will make it to the next round.” The return leg at Emirates Stadium is on February 21.
Elsewhere, Napoli began life without record goalscorer Marek Hamsik with a 3-1 win in a fiery atmosphere at FC Zurich.
Lorenzo Insigne, who has replaced Hamsik as captain after the Slovakian’s move to China, scored the opening goal, with Jose Callejon and Piotr Zielinski also on target.
Celtic’s European adventures appear to be over for another season after being outclassed 2-0 by Valencia at Parkhead.
Denis Cheryshev and Ruben Sobrino got the goals as the Spaniards extended their recent unbeaten run to six matches.
Inter Milan claimed a 1-0 win at Rapid Vienna despite Mauro Icardi snubbing the trip after being stripped of the captaincy over a contract row, with Lautaro Martinez scoring the winner from the penalty spot.
Wissam Ben Yedder’s 22nd-minute strike helped record five-time winners Sevilla take a large step towards the last 16 with a 1-0 victory over Lazio in Rome, while Benfica backed up their 10-0 weekend thumping of Nacional by winning 2-1 at Galatasaray.
Salzburg, semi-finalists last season, lost 2-1 at Club Brugge, while 10-man Sporting Lisbon were beaten 1-0 by Villarreal in the Portuguese capital.