Sports Monks

Holes earns Slavia Prague precious draw at Arsenal

Holes earns Slavia Prague precious draw at Arsenal

LONDON: Slavia Prague boosted their hopes of a first European semi-final since 1996 as Tomas Holes headed a stoppage-time equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Arsenal in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday.

It looked as though substitute Nicolas Pepe’s 86th-minute effort had given the hosts a narrow advantage to take to the Czech Republic for next week’s second leg.

But defender Holes forced a header past Bernd Leno from a corner in the 93rd minute to deflate Arsenal and keep the tie balanced on a knife edge.

An often subdued game was punctuated by good chances for both sides with Arsenal guilty of wasteful finishing.

Bukayo Saka curled an effort wide in the first half while Willian and Alexandre Lacazette were both denied by the woodwork for Mikel Arteta’s side after the break.

Slavia, who have beaten Leicester City and Rangers en route to the quarter-finals, had their moments too and substitute Petr Sevcik squandered a good chance to put them ahead while Lukas Provod had a shot turned against the woodwork seconds before Holes pounced to equalise.

It was a disappointing night for Arsenal whose season rests on going all the way in the Europa League.

Although they created plenty of chances, they looked fragile and lacked intensity until captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, surprisingly left on the bench, and Pepe came on.

Arteta, who said he was shocked by his side’s meek defeat by Liverpool at the weekend, looked aghast at the final whistle.

“The game was under control, we got the goal that we wanted, but then we played two or three balls in areas that we should not do and we put ourselves on the back foot,” he said.

“Obviously (the late goal) changes the feeling.”

The last time Slavia Prague visited Arsenal they lost 7-0 in a 2007 Champions League tie but they provided far more resistance this time.

Source: CNN

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