The Gunners were boasting a 4-1 lead from the opening leg but found themselves deservedly behind on the night as Fedor Chalov and Kirill Nababkin pounced on Petr Cech parries to put the hosts within touching distance of an unlikely turnaround.
Danny Welbeck halted the comeback with a well-taken goal on 75 minutes, Arsenal’s first shot on target on the night.
Aaron Ramsey then scored in stoppage time to seal a 2-2 draw, sending Arsenal through 6-3 on aggregate.
It was a much nervier night than the Gunners would have anticipated and Wenger put that down to the margin of victory from the first leg.
“You could see when you have a big difference after the first game it is difficult to turn up with the same urgency than if the difference is very small and that played a part in the first half,” he said.
“I felt in the two games they (CSKA) played well, especially tonight they made my heart beat much quicker than I expected it to be played against a good team.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 13, 2018
“I knew that after the first game they showed that again tonight, they gave us many problems.”
Arsenal were without the injured Henrikh Mkhitaryan for this game after he limped out of the first leg with a knee injury.
He has been superb for Arsenal in the competition this season and could now be fit for the semi-finals.
“(The injury is) a medial knee ligament strain,” he said.
“He should be out for two more weeks, don’t be too worried we have good medical staff and he is very serious in his rehab.”
CSKA boss Viktor Goncharenko felt his side’s recent fixture pile-up played a big part in his players being unable to sustain the high tempo that had frightened the life out of their visitors in the first half.
“Until 75 minutes we played extremely well and were wining in a justified way,” he said.
“We took the lead and were so close winning the this match, after the recent duels with Barcelona and Juventus, it was just too much for us to make a marvellous comeback in this game.
“The tempo of the match began going down and down, the speed Arsenal were playing was high and our schedule at the moment is tough – it didn’t happen because we have been playing so many matches.”
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) April 12, 2018
Provided by Press Association Sport
Arsenal suffered an almighty scare on their way to the Europa League semi-finals.
Leading 4-1 from last week’s first leg at home, they fell behind 2-0 to CSKA Moscow on Thursday.
However, as CSKA pushed for the third goal that would have sent them through, Arsenal hit back with two counter-attacking goals to level the scores on the night and go through 6-3 on aggregate.
Here’s a look at how the Gunners performed in Thursday’s 2-2 draw.
Petr Cech – 7: Pulled off good saves in the build-up to CSKA’s first two goals, and another soon after the second.
Hector Bellerin – 6: The Spanish right-back was targeted at times by Moscow’s attack, but stood up to the challenge. Below his best in attack.
Shkodran Mustafi – 4: Another shaky display from the German. Failed to react as his runner slipped in to score CSKA’s first.
Laurent Koscielny – 5: The lack of leadership in defence was visible early on, but the Frenchman grew into the game as Arsenal looked to hold on.
Nacho Monreal – 4: Both CSKA goals came from his flank, first when he was beaten on a cross and then when he didn’t react as Cech saved a long-range shot.
Aaron Ramsey – 6: Got his customary Europa League goal, although he wasn’t at his best until the last 20 minutes as Arsenal looked to counter.
Mohamed Elneny -8: Arsenal’s best player in midfield, running his socks off. Delivered beautiful assists for both of Arsenal’s goals.
Jack Wilshere – 4: Wilshere’s form from the start of 2018 has disappeared, and on Thursday he often hindered rather than helped Arsenal’s attack.
Mesut Ozil – 5: If it hadn’t been for Arsenal’s late fight-back, Ozil would yet again have been the target of criticism. Below-par performance.
Alexandre Lacazette – 5: Denied the service he needed to thrive, but also never looked like making an impact. Was going to be subbed off even before Arsenal scored.
Danny Welbeck – 7: Up until his goal, Welbeck hadn’t been having the best game. But his strike was superb, and suddenly he was everywhere, including helping his defence.
Callum Chambers – 6: Trusted to do a better job in midfield than Wilshere, and repaid that faith as he helped solidify Arsenal in the middle of the park.
Alex Iwobi – N/A: Fluffed his lines when presented with a glorious chance to put the tie to bed. A willing runner in attack otherwise, adding threat to Arsenal’s counters.
European heavyweights Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are the big-hitters in Friday’s Champions League semi-final draw but Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp does not under-estimate surprise package Roma.
On the night when the Reds were securing a 5-1 aggregate win over Manchester City, the Serie A side produced a major shock in overturning a 4-1 first-leg deficit to beat Barcelona on away goals.
With the last-four line-up completed by 12-time winners and defending champions Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, who have lifted the trophy five times, real pedigree potentially awaits Klopp’s team.
Real have won three of the last four finals while Bayern’s last win was in 2013 – against Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund – after finishing runner-up twice in three years.
By contrast Liverpool, for whom the last of their five triumphs came in Istanbul in 2005, are in their first Champions League semi-final for a decade.
Although Roma are in the last-four for only the second time after finishing runners-up in 1984, Klopp was impressed with the manner of their comeback against Barcelona.
Drawing them would produce an early reunion for 39-goal Mohamed Salah, who left the Italian capital in the summer in a £38million deal which is now looking good value.
“I walked up the stairs and somebody told me (Roma had gone through) – I really thought it was a joke,” he said after the win over City.
“Not that I don’t respect Roma, the absolute opposite. They have a fantastic team. They lost Mo Salah and they are in the semis, that’s quite a big thing.”
Of the clubs that remain in the competition Liverpool have the best record against Real, for whom Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 120th Champions League goal with an added time penalty to end Juventus’ comeback hopes on Wednesday.
Despite two defeats in their last two Champions League encounters in 2014 – one of which saw then manager Brendan Rodgers play a weakened side in the Bernabeu – in their three meetings prior to that the Reds have three wins, including the 1981 European Cup final in Paris and a 4-0 humbling at Anfield inspired by Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard.
Their seven previous encounters have been less clear-cut with two wins and four draws, with their last meeting a 3-2 victory in the 2001 European Super Cup after Liverpool won the UEFA Cup.
Klopp, of course, has more recent history with Bayern as Dortmund manager having lost the 2013 final to Arjen Robben’s 89th-minute winner.
Liverpool’s last of five meetings with Roma came in 2002, with a 2-0 win putting them into the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Klopp insists they are focusing on themselves rather than their opponents as the prospect of a first European Cup final since 2007 – having reached the Europa League final two years ago – becomes a realistic prospect.
“I don’t care who is in (the competition). We are here and we deserved it, and I am really happy about that,” he said.
“So far, we fought for each opportunity to get it – and then to use it is so hard. But that’s what we will do.
“It’s obviously a while ago that Liverpool were in the semis. It was a while ago that I was in the semis (in 2013).
“Now we are there together – so that’s quite a cool moment and I’m really happy about it.
“The other teams will have their targets as well when we meet them in the semis; I think they are not without ambitions.”