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Nicolas Pepe scores two brilliant free-kicks as Arsenal prevail in five-goal thriller Vitoria

The Gunners secured a late 3-2 win against Vitória de Guimarães at the Emirates.

Pepe celebrates scoring for Arsenal on Thursday.
Pepe celebrates scoring for Arsenal on Thursday.
Image: Nigel French

NICOLAS PEPE SALVAGED a fortuitous Europa League win for Arsenal as Unai Emery’s side twice came from behind to overcome Vitoria SC 3-2.

Heading into Thursday’s Group F meeting on the back of six successive home wins in European competition, Arsenal were well below par on Thursday, but substitute Pepe stepped up with a late double.

The result was far more than Arsenal were worth, with Vitoria – who took the lead through ex-Tottenham youngster Marcus Edwards early on – having crafted some excellent opportunities.

Gabriel Martinelli’s equaliser had brightened Arsenal’s prospects midway through the first half, though the Brazilian’s header was swiftly cancelled out by Bruno Duarte.

But it was the much-maligned Pepe who had the final say with two devastating free-kicks – his second a spectacular effort in stoppage time which clinched the points.

On the latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly, Andy Dunne tells Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey about where it all went wrong for Joe Schmidt’s Ireland


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