The real reason Arsenal star Aubameyang didn’t celebrate with mask vs Man Utd revealedMarch 15,2019 | By: Dailystar.co.uk
Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrated with a Black Panther mask (Pic: GETTY)
Aubameyang was denied his patented mask celebration against Manchester United on Sunday because he couldn’t find it.
But after scoring twice to add to an Ainsley Maitland-Niles header, he raced behind the goal to fish it out of a handily-placed drawstring bag and briefly become the Marvel Comics hero.
Aubameyang has now scored 22 goals this season and his brace helped Arsenal become the first team since Fulham in 2010 to go overturn a 3-1 first-leg deficit in this competition.
Rennes fans lit three big flares as the game first got under way but it was Arsenal who started with a bang.
They had been right up against it. Out of 18 European ties where they lost the first leg, they had only managed to win three.
But Sunday’s win over United gave them a clear lift, and Unai Emery stuck with the new-look 3-4-1-2 formation he used in that game.
It paid off within six minutes. Ainsley Maitland-Niles flew down the right wing and fed Aaron Ramsey inside the box.
The Welsh wizard then turned his man and stabbed across a low centre to the near post, where Aubameyang was ready to pounce.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang whipped out the mask against Rennes (Pic: GETTY)
Rennes, whose 3-1 first-leg win in France owed much to Sokratis getting himself sent off, looked shell-shocked, and the Gunners did not let them recover.
They scored again, in controversial circumstances, just ten minutes later. Ramsey played a throughball for Sead Kolasinac, who was offside.
But he left it to Aubameyang, who chased it to the byline and just saved it from going out before swinging in a cross for Maitland-Niles to head past Tomas Koubek.
TV replays seemed to show that Aubameyang too was offside, but Rennes appeals fell on deaf ears with Latvian referee Andris Treimanis giving the goal.
That just made the French club, already furious that Alexandre Lacazette had been given a surprise reprieve by UEFA, even more angry.
European football’s governing body reduced Lacazette’s three-match ban for a red card against BATE Borisov to two, meaning he was suddenly available to start this one.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored against Man Utd but could not use the mask to celebrate (Pic: GETTY)
They had even more to be upset about when the Frenchman went in hard on Benjamin Andre and escaped with a yellow card.
The visitors didn’t show up until after half time when M’Baye Niang forced Petr Cech to tip his shot off the post.
But it took an outstanding last-ditch block tackle to deny Ismaila Sarr what looked like being a priceless away goal.
Emery threw on Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mhitaryan with 21 minutes left and the tie still very much in the balance, and it proved an inspired move.
Iwobi almost scored immediately, before Mkhitaryan picked up the ball and ran at the Rennes defence before feed Kolasinac for a low cross which Aubameyang finished from close range.
He should have had a hat-trick too but miscued from a Ramsey pass with only the keeper to beat.