Unai Emery’s men couldn’t have gotten out to a much worse start to their UEFA Europe League knockout campaign than they did in a 1-0 loss to BATE Borisov on Thursday night.
Arsenal, who was a heavy favorite to win their game against the Belarusian side, ended up going down by a surprising 1-0 final score against the Belarus Premier League champions.
Despite controlling possession with nearly 77% and taking 16 total shots in the game at Borisov Arena, Arsenal was unable to find the net and was shut out from goal in a disheartening performance.
BATE Borisov scored the game’s only goal in the final minute of the first half. A free kick for the Belarusian side from Igor Stasevich was headed into the net by midfielder Stanislav Dragun to give BATE Borisov a lead that they would not relinquish.
Despite numerous Arsenal scoring opportunities, BATE Borisov’s keeper Denis Scherbitski’s excellent performance kept them off of the board.
To make matters worse, Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette was shown a red card after elbowing BATE Borisov defender Aleksandar Filipovic in the 85th minute out of frustration.
Lacazette will miss the second leg of the draw, which will be played next Thursday night at Emirates Stadium in London. Arsenal will look to turn the draw around and avoid a humiliating early Europa League exit.