Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was left stunned after he missed a golden chance in the final seconds of Arsenal's dramatic Europa League defeat to Olympiacos.
Aubameyang, who had restored parity with a sublime overhead kick earlier in extra-time, sliced wide of a gaping goal moments after Youssef El-Arabi had prodded Olympiacos into a 2-1 lead in the 29th minute of extra-time at Emirates Stadium.
The miss ultimately proved the last action of the match, as Olympiacos – which had cancelled out Arsenal's 1-0 lead from the first leg early in the second half – progressed on away goals from a tie which finished 2-2 on aggregate. And Aubameyang, who moved level with Jamie Vardy at the top of the Premier League scoring charts with a double against Everton on Sunday, offered no excuses for his error.
"I don't even know. I feel very, very bad," the striker told BT Sport as he attempted to explain the miss. "This can happen. I don't know how I missed this chance. I was tired and I had some cramps as well, but it is not an excuse. I have to score this goal, but it can happen."
Aubameyang added on Arsenal's exit from the competition: "What can I say? It's very, very hard, very tough. It was a tough game again. I think we missed putting some pace in the game – that cost us a little bit. Then the last minute goal was unlucky for us. That's it. We try to keep improving in the league and we'll try to win as many games as possible, and we'll see how many chances we have to qualify [for the Champions League]."
Arteta: Very hard for Arsenal to finish in top four following Europa League exit
Meanwhile, Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta conceded his side created its own issues in Thursday's encounter, but he is now focusing on the next step of rallying the Gunners.
"Very hard because looking at the table we're still far from the objectives that we all have, but we've been far all season from it and we have to keep fighting," Arteta, who replaced Unai Emery in December, told reporters post-match when asked about the difficulties of reaching the top four.
"The most important thing now is that the dressing room has to be strong and we have to keep going and react. First of all, I have to convince them about what happened in the game and why they are not through in the tie. If they continue to do that, there will be rewards like we have done in the last 10 games that we played."
"It hurts a lot. We had a lot of intentions in this competition. It was very important for us," he told BT Sport. "Emotionally, it's been a very difficult game. We were in complete control. Again we conceded [from] a set-piece and it put the tie in a difficult position. It is a massive disappointment. But at the same time, I'm very proud of the players. I think the effort that they put in tonight has been incredible, how patient they are."
"It would have been an incredible lift if we had managed to win the game and go through the tie. We have to swallow that and we have to react as a team. They have my backing, completely, for the way they have played. But it's painful."
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