By Izuchukwu Okosi
Atletico Madrid booked their place in the final of the 2018 Europa League Thursday night with a 1-0 win over Arsenal at the Wanda Metropolitano thereby advancing 2-1 on aggregate and ensuring that Arsene Wenger will leave his job as Arsenal manager without an European trophy.
Diego Costa put Atletico ahead with a minute left to play in the first half with Diego Simeone’s side creating a couple of chances to get an assured advantage albeit the Gunners created some panic in Atletico’s back line but lacked the cutting edge to trouble the hosts.
Wenger, whose side have only won two of their last 12 games in all competitions went for the same line up that were held to a 1-1 draw at the Emirates last week.
Alexandre Lacazette crossed the ball dangerously into Atletico’s penalty box in the sixth minute which Thomas headed out for corner.
Laurent Koscielny presumably jarred his knee badly with his World Cup place perhaps now in doubt early in the first half.
Lacazette and Mesut Ozil created panic in the Atletico box in the 27th minute but it came to nought while Griezmann turned brilliantly inside the box from a freekick but his low shot went agonisingly off target.
Costa then put Atletico ahead with a minute left to play in the first half, shrugging off a Hector Bellerin challenge.
The second half started with Atletico having more of the ball but the Gunners had two chances within the first fifteen into the second half through Ozil and a rasping shot from Granit Xhaka.
Ospina gathered from a second attempt with Griezmann ready to head the ball into the net soon afterwards.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s shot went agonisingly close within seconds of replacing Wilshere who was shown a yellow card earlier by the referee.
Costa who is known to have had flashpoints with Arsenal defenders whilst at former club Chelsea was yellow carded with Shokdran Mustafi for an incident bothering on time wasting by the hosts and the German’s reaction to that negative tactic.
Ospina kept out a Griezmann powerful shot as the Spaniards got closer to clinching the win.
The celebration by Diego Simeone at full-time was telling, there will be no Champions League for Arsenal next season and no European trophy for departing Arsene Wenger.
The “love story” which Wenger so spoke about in his pre match conference had gone soar and will now concentrate on the remaining Premier League matches this season against Burnley, Leicester City and Huddersfield Town.