By 90Min
January 30, 2019

Arsenal manager Unai Emery praised his side's second half performance after the Gunners beat Cardiff 2-1 in the Bluebirds' first game since the disappearance of striker Emiliano Sala, on what was an emotional night at the Emirates.

After a slow start, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a 66th minute penalty to give the hosts the lead before Alexandre Lacazette netted a second, with Nathaniel Mendez-Laing pulling one back for Cardiff in second half stoppage time.

Speaking after the game, Emery admitted his side started slowly but praised the performance in the second period.

Chloe Knott - Danehouse/GettyImages

He said, as quoted by Arsenal's website: "The first half, if one team deserved to score then maybe it was them. 

"The best thing to do in this moment when we were in the dressing room was to speak about it. The first half at 0-0 was good for us because we conceded chances to them and they didn’t score. 

"But we had the opportunity to change this situation in the second half and we had to play in that second half with patience because we knew this match was not easy. They play well in one against one in all areas of the pitch and it’s not easy to play or find space in these duels. 

"In the first half this happened a lot. But then in the second half, also in the 90 minutes, the individuals working hard can become tired in some moments. In the second half, with our patience, we found the best offensive solutions to score and to win this match."

Tributes were paid to Sala and pilot David Ibbotson during the game and Emery also sent his thoughts to all involved, adding: "Firstly, we have respect for the situation for them, and above all our thoughts are with Emiliano Sala, his family, his friends, Cardiff City and his ex-club Nantes. I played in France for two years against him. 

"It wasn’t a close relationship because he was an opposition player, but I understand above all that the coach spoke with him before he signed with them and it’s very difficult afterwards to prepare for this situation. 

"Last week I was thinking, ‘Maybe today we cannot play’ but the decision is continuing, continuing to find Emiliano Sala, continuing the competition. It was very emotional match today and they worked amazingly in a hard moment. We can only say that our thoughts are with them."

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