Mikel Arteta insists Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was “unlucky” not to score two or three goals against Benfica.
The Arsenal striker cut a frustrated figure upfront after missing several chances as the Gunners drew 1-1 with the Portuguese side in Rome.
Arteta’s side went behind in the second half after Pizzi scored a penalty, before Bukayo Saka equalised two minutes later.
Arsenal had the best chance on the night but Arteta refused to lay the blame at the feet of Aubameyang, who scored a hattrick against Leeds on Sunday.
“These things happen,” said Arteta.
“He was on the end of the biggest chances we had tonight. He was a real threat, that’s why we played him today against this opponent with the [defensive] line that they propose all the time.
“And he was unlucky not to score three or four tonight because in normal circumstances that would have been the case.
There were some positives for Arsenal including the return of Kieran Tierney from injury and Gabriel Martinelli who made a second half appearance off the bench.
“Everything’s completely open until next Thursday. We dominated the game and had patches of good moments where we created some big chances.
“We weren’t ruthless enough in the opponent’s box and the disappointing thing was how we conceded the goal obviously.”
The second leg is in Athens, Greece next week with Arsenal facing Manchester City this weekend and Leicester City a week later.