Rennes overpowers Arsenal in a strong attacking performance in the Europa League

Rennes capitalised on Sokratis Papastathopoulos' first-half dismissal to take control of their Europa League last-16 tie with a 3-1 first-leg victory over Arsenal at Roazhon Park.

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Courtesy: Cyprus Mail

Arsenal silenced the home crowd with an away goal inside three minutes as Iwobi's low cross from the left caught goalkeeper Tomas Koubek out and nestled in the far corner. Iwobi then almost turned provider, again breaking down the left before squaring across the box for Lucas Torreira to sting the palms of Koubek with a driven effort. 

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Courtesy: The Mirror

The goal laid the foundations for a positive start from the Gunners, but that was undone on 41 minutes when Sokratis was sent off for a second bookable offence. The Greek was booked for bringing down Ben Arfa as he looked to break on the Arsenal goal, the winger's resulting free-kick saved low to his right by Petr Cech. It was not too long before the defender was given his marching orders, shown a second yellow card in a matter of seven minutes for hauling back Sarr as he raced through on goal.

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Courtesy: Daily Express

Arsenal were made to pay immediately as Hatem Ben Arfa's free-kick hit the wall only for Bourigeaud to thrash home the rebound from 20 yards and draw the hosts level before half-time.

Rennes, spearheaded in attack by Bourigeaud, shifted the ball around well to create space against Arsenal's 10 men, and a number of defensive errors culminated in Monreal miscuing a clearance and turning Zeffane's cross past Cech for an own goal. 

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Courtesy: BBC

Emery appeared to accept a narrow loss rather than risk further damage by chasing an equaliser, replacing lone forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the closing stages. 

But his side will have to reach the quarter-finals the hard way after Sarr's diving header after 88 minutes compounded a poor night for the visitors. 

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Courtesy: The Guardian

Unai Emery's side will most certainly have a mountain to climb in next week's return leg at the Emirates.

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