BUKAYO SAKA saved Arsenal’s season with TWO inch-perfect assists for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang against Benfica – with Cesc Fabregas piling praise on the ‘game-changer’.
The Gunners went into the second-leg of their Europa League last-32 clash with the score evenly poised at 1-1 on aggregate.
And with the deadlock yet to be broken in Arsenal’s decisive ‘home’ leg, Saka came up with a moment of magic.
Standing near the right touchline, the winger – still only 19 years old – drifted infield.
Saka then unleashed a sumptuous, perfectly-weighted reverse through ball for Aubameyang to latch on to.
The Gunners skipper made no mistake as he coolly chipped the ball over Helton Leite and into the Benfica net to make it 1-0 before racing over to Saka to celebrate with him.
Unfortunately for Arsenal, Saka’s good work was undone moments before half-time.
The Gunners were stunned by two Benfica goals either side of the break, with Mikel Arteta’s men needing to score twice to avoid an early elimination.
Kieran Tierney gave Arteta’s side a lifeline with a leveller a little over 20 minutes from time, drilling the ball into the net from a Willian pull-back.
But Arsenal knew they needed one more to avoid being Europa no-hopers.
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And once again it was the Saka-Aubameyang combination that delivered the knockout blow.
Saka provided an inch-perfect assist with a teasing cross, nodded home by Aubameyang to send the Gunners into the last-16.
Incredibly, the pair of assists were Saka’s seventh and eighth in the Europa League alone since the start of last season.
No player has registered more in the competition in that time.
Saka also took his tally to 18 assists in all competitions for Arsenal since the start of the 2019-20 campaign – a club record in that span.
The young winger’s incredible contribution didn’t go unnoticed either.
Gunners legend Cesc Fabregas piled praise on Saka at full-time.
The Spaniard tweeted: “Saka is such a good player. Such a maturity and intelligence for his age. Game changer.”
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