Substitute Nicolas Pepe scored twice in the final 11 minutes as Arsenal came back from 1-2 to beat Vitoria Guimaraes 3-2 at the Emirates on Thursday night.
The English Premier League side had fallen behind after only eight minutes when former Tottenham Hotspur youngster Marcus Edwards composed himself inside the penalty area to finish calmly from a cutback. A similar move only minutes earlier had seen Vitoria miss a good opportunity to take the lead in North London.
18-year-old Gabriel Martinelli found space around the six-yard box to head home Arsenal’s equaliser on half hour. The Brazilian had previously scored a brace in the Gunners’ last Europa League game – their 4-0 thrashing of Standard Liege at the start of the month.
Vitoria looked a constant threat on the break in the first half and retook the lead only five minutes later through Bruno Duarte.
Unai Emery’s side saw a lot of the ball and territory in the second half, but a combination of good defending and poor finishing cost them an equaliser until club record signing Nicolas Pepe was thrown on for the final 15 minutes.
The Ivorian international looked inspired from the moment he entered the pitch and scored an excellent free kick on the corner of the box to make it 2-2 with 10 minutes to go.
In the final seconds of stoppage time, the forward won a free kick outside the penalty area in a central location. Pepe picked himself up to curl a fine effort into the top corner to produce a dramatic Arsenal victory.
Arsenal have picked up nine points from their first three group games, whilst Vitoria remain pointless. In the other game in Group H saw Eintracht Frankfurt beat Standard Liege 2-1 in Germany.