Cesc Fabregas singles out Arsenal star Bukayo Saka for praise after Europa League victory over Benfica

Cesc Fabregas hailed Bukayo Saka after Arsenal beat Benfica
Cesc Fabregas hailed Bukayo Saka after Arsenal beat Benfica (Picture: Getty)

Cesc Fabregas singled out Arsenal star Bukayo Saka for praise after the Gunners beat Benfica to progress in the Europa League.

The tie was evenly poised at 1-1 after the first leg and Mikel Arteta’s side won 3-2 in Athens in the return leg on Thursday night to progress.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave his side a first-half lead but Benfica equalised on the stroke of half-time through Diogo Goncalves.

Arsenal were facing a premature exit in the Europa League when Ferreira Silva put Benfica in front after the break, but Kieran Tierney responded immediately to level.

Still requiring another goal to go through, Saka delivered a superb cross for Aubameyang to convert in the 87th minute and ensure Arsenal progressed to the last-16 of the Europa League.

Fabregas – who spent almost a decade at Arsenal – was impressed by Saka’s performance for his former club and described the England international as a ‘game-changer’.

He tweeted: ‘Saka is such a good player. Such a maturity and intelligence for his age. Game changer.’

Saka helped Arsenal beat Benfica and progress in the Europa League
Saka helped Arsenal beat Benfica and progress in the Europa League (Picture: Getty)

Former Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna also hailed Saka, 19, on social media.

Aubameyang, meanwhile, believes Arsenal ‘showed a lot of character’ to come from behind to beat Benfica and keep their Europa League hopes alive.

He said: ‘Everyone is happy tonight. This is what gives me power every day, take errors from the past and transform to strength.

‘The team showed a lot of character and we deserved the win. It was a hard game. What we showed tonight will be an example for the future.’

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