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Arsenal striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fired the Gunners into the Europa League quarter-finals on Thursday night and celebrated by donning a Black Panther mask, the Gabonese forward has explained the reason he wore the Marvel character mask while celebrating his goal.
Trailing 3-1 from the first leg, Unai Emery’s side completed a stunning comeback against Rennes courtesy of Aubameyang’s brace and Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ header. After scoring the Gunners’ crucial third goal, Gabon striker Aubamenyang wore a mask from iconic movie Black Panther as he took acclaim from his team-mates and supporters during a tense night at the Emirates Stadium.
The Arsenal striker pulls the mask over his head after bagging his second goal of the game
‘I needed a mask who represents me. It’s Black Panther and in Gabon we call the national team the Panther of Gabon, so it represents me,’ said Aubameyang, who has celebrated goals wearing Spiderman and Batman masks at previous clubs.
Arsenal’s players celebrate with the Gabonese striker after he pulled the mask on his head
‘I missed two chances to close the game but the most important thing is that we won and everybody is happy and proud.
‘Rennes were a bit nervous and angry as well but that’s football sometimes and it can happen like that.’ Maitland-Niles, whose goal was his first in European football, believes Arsenal are proving their Champions League credentials. We are just showing that we can do it (qualify for Champions League),’ said the youngster.
‘We are showing that we are good enough as a team and we have great spirit. We are all fighting for each other on the pitch.’ On his team’s stirring fightback, manager Unai Emery added: ‘It was a good evening, 3-0 is good for us.
‘We had chances to score the fourth goal and be more calm. I’m very proud of the supporters and players. We worked very well this week. We can be happy.
‘We were very competitive over 90 minutes but we can do better. We could have had more control of the ball. It’s easy to say here instead of on the pitch.
‘We had a very difficult week after Manchester United on Sunday – but we can take confidence from Sunday and tonight’s wins.’ Aubameyang appeared to be offside in the build up to Maitland-Niles’ goal – Arsenal’s second of the night.
And Rennes manager Julien Stephans said: ‘I think it’s clearly offside. ‘The offside was very clear, you don’t need VAR to see it. It was quite clear to us on the pitch.
"I needed a mask which represents me. It’s the Black Panther and in Africa, in Gabon, we call the national team the Black Panthers of Gabon… It represents me."
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) March 14, 2019
‘The assistant referee was much quicker to raise his flag in every situation in the second half. It’s an important decision in the game, but Arsenal played better and deserved to go through.’