LONDON-Outgoing Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger lamented a familiar defensive lapse as his side failed to cash in on a man advantage for over 80 minutes in a 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday.

Antoine Griezmann's away goal eight minutes from time is a body blow to Wenger's hopes of bowing out after 22 years on a high in the final on May 16, and Arsenal's chances of playing Champions League football next season.

Sime Vrsaljko's early red card handed the Gunners the initiative, however, they were made to rue a host of missed chances before and after Alexandre Lacazette headed them in front on the hour mark.

"I feel we produced the performance we wanted to produce, but the result is not in line with the performance," said Wenger. "We can only look at ourselves for tonight's result because 1-0 is a perfect result at home. It was up to us not to make a mistake...it is a story we have seen before."

Atletico coach Diego Simeone was also sent to the stands shortly after Vrsaljko's dismissal, but the Spaniards resisted manfully and Simeone hailed their resistence. "You don't have any idea how hard it is to defend and defend and defend," said Simeone. "You have to have huge balls to defend for more than 80 minutes like that. These players of Atletico Madrid are heroes to resist like that."

Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico's Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week to progress, and Simeone urged the home support to create an explosive atmosphere. "Next week the stadium has to explode with positive energy," added the Argentine. "We can play well or badly but you don't see this commitment everywhere...I have goosebumps thinking about next week already."

There was a highly-charged atmosphere for Wenger's penultimate home game in charge and the hosts were given plenty of encouragement early on, even when still up against Atletico's full complement.

MARSEILLE IN CRUISE CONTROL

Florian Thauvin and substitute Clinton Njie netted to give Marseille a 2-0 win over Salzburg in their Europa League semi-final first leg on Thursday, keeping the French club's dreams of European glory alive.

Dimitri Payet set up both goals for OM at a packed Velodrome, as more than 62,000 fans saw Thauvin grab an opener that had more than a suspicion of handball about it. Cameroon international Njie then made it 2-0 less than three minutes after coming off the bench in the second half, to leave Marseille firmly in control of the tie ahead of next week's return in Austria.

"It is a good result. We wanted to win and it's done. And doing it without conceding a goal was a good idea," said Marseille coach Rudi Garcia. "We know we are not through yet. We will go there looking to score at least one goal and win the game. We need to show we deserve to go to the final."

Marseille are desperate to reach a final that will be played in France, at the home of their bitter rivals Lyon, on May 16. They are aiming to win a second European trophy, a quarter of a century after their triumph in the inaugural Champions League final in 1993.

Garcia's side would perhaps not be the favourites if they did make it through to face either Arsenal or Atletico Madrid, who drew 1-1 in London in Thursday's other game. However, they have enough quality in their ranks to trouble anyone, even if Salzburg might feel aggrieved at not at least grabbing an away goal.

"We are sad. We think we deserved better. But we have no choice, we are already thinking about the return match," said the Austrian side's German coach Marco Rose, before adding that he would "not cry" about having a penalty appeal turned down in the second half.

Marseille's opener arrived with just 15 minutes played, as Salzburg goalkeeper Alexander Walke came for a Payet free-kick but couldn't get to it, and Thauvin arrived to finish at the back post with a combination of his head and an arm.

Scottish referee Willie Collum did not see anything wrong with the goal, and he also waved away Salzburg's penalty appeals early in the second half when Stefan Lainer went down as he crashed into Maxime Lopez in the box. Moments after that, Marseille goalkeeper Yohann Pele produced an excellent save to deny Hannes Wolf, and the home side doubled their lead in the 63rd minute.

Substitute Njie released Payet down the left and then controlled the return ball in the box before firing home, sparking jubilant scenes in the vast home crowd.

Norwegian substitute Fredrik Gulbrandsen hit the post with a half-volley at the other end late on, and Salzburg may live to regret not scoring that precious away goal as they look to become the first Austrian side to reach a European final in over 20 years.

 

 results

Arsenal (ENG) 1-1 Atletico Madrid (ESP)

Marseille (FRA) 2-0 Salzburg (AUT)