It is another all-England final in Europe as Arsenal and Chelsea last night qualified to vie for the second most coveted trophy in European football.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang played arguably his best game in an Arsenal shirt yesterday as the Gunners beat Valencia 4-2 to qualify for the Europa League final on 7-3 aggregate.
The London side won the first leg 3-1 at home last week and were expected by many to take a low score loss and qualify for the final. But they were not in a mood to yield any ground to the Spanish team, whose fans jammed the Mestalla expecting a comeback like the two we witnessed in the Champions League semifinals.
Kevin Gameiro, who celebrated his 32nd birthday yesterday, gave the home team an early lead, but they were pegged back six minutes later by Aubameyang.
Alexandre Lacazette gave Arsenal the lead in the 50th minute, meaning that Valencia had to score four more goals to move ahead in the tie. But the best they could do was Gameiro’s second goal of the night, which tied the match 2-2 on the night.
Then, Aubameyang took over, first by bundling in Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ cross in the 69th minute, and adding then icing on the cake to take the tie beyond the Spanish side.
The win kept Arsenal’s hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League alive as they will meet Chelsea in the final of the competition.
A win will give them automatic ticket to the elite competition. Chelsea beat Eintracht Frankfurt 4-3 on penalties and 6-5 on aggregate.
In the second semifinal in London, Chelsea were dragged to a penalty shoot out by Eintracht Frankfurt, who held the Blues to a 1-1 in regular time.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek gave Chelsea the lead in the 28th minute, while Luka Jovic equalised four minutes into the second half.
With the first leg having ended 1-1 a week ago, the sides were left to settle scores through the penalty lottery.
Eintracht Frankfurt scored their first three kicks through Sebastian Haller, Jovic and Jonathan Guzman, but they missed the last two through Martin Hinteregger and Goncalo Pacienca, while Chelsea scored four through Ross Barkley, Jorginho, Davide Zappacosta and Eden Hazard, with Cesar Azpilicueta losing his.