Ivory Coast’s Nicolas Pepe played a vital role for Arsenal as they progressed to the semi-finals of the Uefa Europa League on Thursday night.
The winger was given a start on the wing and produced one of his best performances in the competition so far. Pepe scored a goal and assisted another strike as the Gunners ran out with a 4-0 win at the Eden Arena in the Czech Republic.
Pepe opened the scoring after 18 minutes thanks to a good ball from attacking midfielder Smith Rowe. French striker Alexandre Lacazette doubled the advantage for Mikel Arteta’s side from the penalty spot after Bukayo Saka was brought down in the box.
Three minutes after the second, Saka made it three to the visitors after making a magnificent run down the right wing and putting the ball into the bottom right corner giving the opposition goalkeeper no chance.
Having already scored the first, Pepe then laid an assist for the fourth goal of the encounter scored by Lacazette who got his second of the night to put the game beyond any doubt.
Pepe played 88 minutes before being substituted for Folarin Balogun. Ghana’s Thomas Partey also started and played a solid 79 minutes in the centre of the park for the Premier League side.
Nigerian striker Peter Olayinka started and played the whole 90 minutes for the home side, but couldn’t help them avoid the defeat.
Elsewhere, Samuel Chukwueze was substituted in additional time after helping Villarreal overcame Dinamo Zagreb 2-1 on Thursday evening to progress to the last four of the competition.
Villarreal ran out with a 3-1 aggregate win having already won the first leg 1-0 away from home.
Chukwueze laid an assist for the first goal of the night scored by Paco Alcacer.
RELATED ARTICLE: Aubameyang and Pepe compete for Gunners accolade
By Prince Sobayeni