Cyprus Mail
Europa League

Griezmann equaliser gives Atletico advantage over Arsenal

Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann celebrates scoring with team mates

A late equaliser from French striker Antoine Griezmann gave 10-man Atletico Madrid a precious away-goal advantage over Arsenal as the first leg of their Europa League semi-final at the Emirates ended 1-1 on Thursday.

Arsenal were given a huge boost after 10 minutes when Atletico defender Sime Vrsaljko was sent off for stamping on Alexandre Lacazette’s foot, and Atletico coach Diego Simeone was sent to the stands for his furious reaction to the decision.

Arsenal missed a number of clear chances before Lacazette broke the deadlock in the 61st minute, heading Jack Wilshere’s cross down into the corner to put the home side in front.

Atletico seized back the initiative in the 82nd minute, however, when Griezmann sped past Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny, collected his rebounded shot off keeper David Ospina and calmly lifted the ball into the roof of the net.

The teams head back to Madrid for the second leg next week when Atletico, second in Spain’s La Liga, should have talismanic striker Diego Costa back in their line-up.

In Thursday night’s other semi-final Olympique de Marseille’s Dimitri Payet set up both goals as he guided them to an impressive 2-0 home win over Salzburg in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday.

Florian Thauvin headed in Payet’s free kick after 15 minutes and Clinton Njie calmly slotted home in the 63rd to put Marseille in the driving seat against the Austrian champions.

Payet, making a late bid for a place in France’s World Cup squad with an impressive run of form, has played a key role in Marseille’s run to the last four with five assists and three goals in the knockout stages.

Salzburg’s Fredrik Gulbrandsen had their best chance when he volleyed against the post late in the second half.

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