Uefa Europa League: Special Night In London as 2000 Fans Return To Stadium

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Uefa Europa League: Special Night In London as 2000 Fans Return To Stadium

By Omolagba Oluwayemi

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said the return of fans to Emirates Stadium as they outclassed Rapid Vienna in the Europa League made it a “very special night”.

It had been 271 days since Arsenal fans had last been at their home, for the victory against West Ham United on 7 March – and how the 2,000 allowed in relished watching the Gunners confirm their dominance of Group B.

“I’m delighted to have them back,” Arteta said. “They made a huge contribution. There was only 2,000 but it felt and sounded like a lot more.

“They were very supportive and encouraging to the team and the players have been saying what a huge difference it made. They felt that support.”

Alexandre Lacazette gave those gathered at a social distance inside the cavernous stadium an early reward with a spectacular 25-yard drive after 10 minutes that swerved high beyond the reach of Rapid keeper Richard Strebinger.

Pablo Mari then glanced Reiss Nelson’s corner in off a post before Eddie Nketiah completed the first-half scoring a minute before the interval, heading in after his first effort had been saved by the besieged Strebinger.

Rapid, hopelessly inferior, scrambled a goal back through Kohya Kitigawa early in the second half but Arsenal were never in any danger and substitute Emile Smith Rowe scored a simple fourth from Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ pass.

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