Atletico sinks Arsenal to reach Europa League final

Heather Diaz
May 4, 2018

But Arsenal were undone by a Diego Costa strike in Madrid, having gifted Atletico an away goal last week, and Wenger was clearly distraught with the result.

Laurent Koscielny's chances of featuring for France at the World Cup are hanging by a thread after Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said he suffered a suspected Achilles rupture in Thursday's Europa League clash with Atletico Madrid. "I'm very, very sad to leave the club with this exit".

Wenger, in his 250th UEFA game as a club coach, announced two weeks ago he was standing down after almost 22 years with the London team.

"I have to recover first from a huge disappointment tonight", he said. Atletico won 2-1 on aggregate.

Arsenal and France now face an anxious wait.

"It doesn't look very good", said the Frenchman.

"It looks like it could be ruptured although I'm a bit cautious - no-one can say that clinically at the moment".

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It was perhaps also telling that Costa's physicality and Atletico's defensive rigour ultimately proved decisive, two qualities Wenger's Arsenal in recent years have so lacked.

Coach Diego Simeone served his touchline ban at a stadium where his team has not conceded in 11 matches, and they duly dominated on chances created in the match. "To be important, to lead from the front".

Atletico was demoted to the Europa League after failing to get past the group stage of the Champions League for the first time in five seasons.

The visitor, still facing a battle just to claim a top-six spot in the Premier League, was simply incapable of breaking through Atletico's exceptionally well-drilled defence as the home side dug deep to hold off Arsenal's late onslaught, booking passage to the final in Lyon on 17 May (AEST). Atletico played with fear in the first half that if we scored they could be out, but once they scored they played with a cushion.

The 32-year-old started France's friendlies against Wales last November and at Russian Federation in March and was set to be in a battle with Raphael Varane to start at centre-back alongside Samuel Umtiti.

"You need big players to stand up and be counted and the team were up there with him at that level".

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