Unai Emery hits out at unfair Bukayo Saka penalty decision during Villarreal vs Arsenal

Unai Emery's Villarreal beat Arsenal 2-1 in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final
Unai Emery’s Villarreal beat Arsenal 2-1 in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final (Picture: Getty)

Unai Emery was left stunned following the award of the penalty which handed Arsenal a route back into their Europa League semi-final against Villarreal.

The Yellow Submarine looked well placed to take a potentially decisive advantage into next week’s second leg, having raced into a 2-0 half-time lead.

Arsenal’s fate looked as though it was sealed when Dani Ceballos was given his marching orders shortly before the hour mark, but Mikel Arteta’s side rallied after that setback and halved the deficit from the penalty spot.

The Gunners were fortuitous to have been awarded a spot kick, with Bukayo Saka appearing to have initiated the contact with Manuel Trigueros and Emery struggled to comprehend VAR’s unwillingness to overturn the decision.

He said: ‘There is no explanation, VAR should be very clear to say what it is and what is wasn’t.

Bukayo Saka earned Arsenal their penalty in their 2-1 defeat against Villarreal
Bukayo Saka earned Arsenal their penalty in their 2-1 defeat against Villarreal (Picture: Getty)

‘Everyone has told me that it’s not a penalty, when I saw it I thought how can he call that a penalty, even with VAR.

‘If there is no VAR maybe you can make a mistake. But with VAR it has to intervene there and define what’s a penalty and what’s not.

‘I insisted we had to get back up from 2-0 to 2-1, knowing it was unfair and we had options to go 3-0 up and they were down to 10 men.

‘We knew the tie was going to be difficult for us. Still we have a good result for us, it’s not as favourable as it could’ve been given certain circumstances.’

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