LONDON – Nicolas Pepe spared Arsenal's blushes with two sublime free kicks as they claimed a last-gasp 3-2 win over Vitoria in the Europa League on Thursday having twice trailed.
Unai Emery's side were heading for a demoralising defeat, three days after losing meekly to Sheffield United in the Premier League, but substitute Pepe's late intervention kept the Gunners top of Group F with a maximum nine points.
Vitoria led 2-1 thanks to first-half goals by former Tottenham Hotspur prospect Marcus Edwards and Bruno Duarte either side of Brazilian teenager Gabriel Martinelli's leveller for the hosts -- his fifth goal in only his third start.
The home fans were becoming increasingly restless when Emery sent on Ivorian club record signing Pepe from the bench in the 75th minute and five minutes later he curled the ball in left-footed from 20 metres after Matteo Guendouzi had been fouled.
He repeated the trick with what turned out to be virtually the last kick of the game to seal a seventh successive home win in Europe for Arsenal.