Arsene Wenger’s love affair with Arsenal ended in disappointment after Atletico Madrid reached the Europa League final with a 1-0 win at the Wanda Metropolitano on Thursday night.
Atletico Madrid 1 Arsenal 0
Koscielny forced off through injury early on
Costa (45′) beats Ospina from close range
Oblak denies Xhaka in second half
Costa and Torres test Ospina late on
Diego Costa settled the semi-final, second-leg tie with a first-half stoppage-timer winner as the Gunners had little joy on the night against Diego Simeone’s side.
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) May 3, 2018
The hosts almost made the perfect start in the Spanish capital as Costa shrugged Nacho Monreal off the ball on the right and advanced into the area before shooting wide of the near post in the sixth minute.
Wenger’s men suffered a setback just moments later when captain Laurent Koscielny suffered what appeared to be an ankle injury and had to be replaced.
They didn’t create a single chance in the first half and Los Colchoneros looked comfortable in defence.
Atleti finished the half strongly and Koke went close with a first-time strike from 19 yards out that bounced just wide of the left post on 37 minutes, before Antoine Griezmann threatened moments later when he controlled a free-kick inside the box on the right and hit a shot on the turn that rolled past the far post.
The breakthrough came in stoppage time from Oblak’s long clearance which saw Griezmann play in Costa on the left and the striker held off Hector Bellerin to lift the ball over the advancing David Ospina from eight yards out.
Costa should have done better when he directed a free header straight at Ospina from a corner aimed to the back post on 49 minutes, while Koke scuffed an effort well wide of the left post from the edge of the area two minutes later.
Aaron Ramsey had a sniff at goal for the visitors soon afterwards when Jack Wilshere’s attempted volley landed at his feet, but the Welshman failed to test Oblak under pressure from Thomas Partey.
Griezmann then curled a free-kick wide of the right post from 21 yards out on the hour mark, before Oblak was finally called into action three minutes later as he tipped Granit Xhaka’s low strike around the right post.
Calum Chambers made an important block to deny Griezmann at close range on 67 minutes from Costa’s cutback on the left, while at the other end Henrikh Mkhitaryan lashed a shot over the crossbar from 17 yards out after doing well to control a clearance.
Costa’s final contribution before being substituted saw him fire a fierce shot straight at Ospina from outside the box on 81 minutes, and the Gunners keeper pulled off an even better save three minutes from to parry away Fernando Torres’ strike after the north Londoners gave the ball away inside their own area.