Thursday, 25 February 2021 22:31

Staff Reporter.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a dramatic late winner to help Arsenal edge past Benfica into the last 16 of the Europa League.

In a 'home' leg played at the Karaiskakis Stadium in Greece because of Covid-19 restrictions, Aubameyang opened the scoring to give the Gunners a 2-1 aggregate lead.

Diogo Goncalves levelled for Benfica just before the break with a superb free-kick after Dani Ceballos had needlessly fouled Julian Weigl.

The Spanish midfielder compounded that error after the interval with a poor defensive header that saw Rafa Silva race clear to put the visitors in front.

With Arsenal needing two goals to advance because of the away goals rule, Kieran Tierney's low drive set up a grandstand finish before Aubameyang rescued the tie.

Meanwhile Rangers completed a gloriously chaotic 9-5 aggregate win over Royal Antwerp at Ibrox to reach the Europa League last-16 for the second successive season.

Half-time substitute Nathan Patterson scored within 17 seconds of coming on to restore Rangers' lead on the night after Alfredo Morelos and Antwerp's Lior Refaelov had traded goals.

Ryan Kent quickly made it 3-1 before Didier Lamkel Ze replied in a breathless start to the second half, but penalties from Borna Barisic and Cedric Itten dispelled any doubts.

Both teams will discover their last-16 opponents in Friday's draw at 12:00 GMT.