10-man Arsenal lost their first ever game on French soil in all European competition as they fell to Rennes in the round of 16 of the UEFA Europa League on Thursday despite taking the lead through Nigerian International Alex Iwobi.
The gunners started the game brightly and were confident of continuing their unbeaten run on French soil when Super Eagles winger Alex Iwobi’s perfectly curled cross found its way into the back of the net as early as the 4th minute of the encounter.
Tragedy struck for the London based team when defender Sokratis Papastathopoulous got his matching order in the 38th minute after receiving his second yellow card of the match with a foul on Ismaila Sarr.
The French side got their equalizer a minute after the sending off os Sokratis as Benjamin Bourigeaud put a stunning strike past former Rennes goalkeeper Petr Cech in the 42nd minute.
Rennes confirmed their dominance in the game when Spanish defender Nacho Monreal put the ball past Cech into his own net in the 65th minute before Ismaila Sarr ensured that the gunners will have to fight for every goal in the return leg at the Emirates in a week time scoring the team’s third goal in the 88th minute.
Arsenal will need to beat Rennes two-nil at the Emirates to ensure a quarter-final passage but ultimately ensure that their opponents fail to score in England.
Head coach of the team Unai Emery noted that the red card to Sokratis was the turning point in the match. “The turning point was the red card because they managed to score from the resulting free kick. We were unlucky with the second goal because it was an own goal. I think the biggest disappointment was conceding the third goal.”