Mikel Arteta warned Arsenal must be more ruthless after they had to settle for a 1-1 Europa League round of 32 draw with Benfica in the first leg at Stadio Olimpico.
Bukayo Saka equalised just over two minutes after Pizzi had opened the scoring from the penalty spot, with Emile Smith Rowe punished for handling a Diogo Goncalves cross in the second half in Rome on Thursday.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang inexplicably wasted a glorious chance to put the Gunners in front in the first half and the captain missed another couple of opportunities five days after scoring a hat-trick against Leeds United.
Saka’s away goal in the first of two legs played at neutral venues due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions gives the Premier League club a slight advantage.
Arsenal boss Arteta was frustrated that his side were so wasteful, though, leaving the tie finely poised ahead of the second leg at Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Athens next Thursday.
“We were very dominant and created some big chances,” he told BT Sport. “We have to be more ruthless.
“It was disappointing the way we conceded the goal. We gave them the ball then it was 1-1 and all to play for.
“We conceded a corner then, from the corner, we did not react quick enough and conceded the penalty. Looking at it, it’s difficult to judge. We had a great reaction and scored a great goal.
“We tried to maintain the level. Both teams dropped in the last 20 minutes, but overall we should leave the ground with more.”
— AUB (@Aubameyang7) February 18, 2021
Saka knows Arsenal have little margin for error after the 19-year-old became the youngest Premier League player to have scored 10 or more goals and provided at least 10 assists since the start of last season.
The versatile England international said: “It is about managing the game. Last year when we went out to Olympiakos we conceded a silly goal. We can’t put a foot wrong because if we do we will make it difficult for ourselves.”
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