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Arsenal matchwinner Emile Smith Rowe was ‘relieved’ to have seen his red card overturned in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Newcastle United in the FA Cup.
The Gunners progressed to the fourth round of the competition after a hard-fought victory over the Magpies at the Emirates.
Smith Rowe, a second-half substitute, was originally sent off for a tackle on Sean Longstaff late on, with the Newcastle midfielder letting out a shriek when hitting the deck.
However, after advice from the VAR, referee Chris Kavanagh went over to his monitor and subsequently changed his decision to just a yellow, with the Arsenal midfielder barely catching his opposite number.
With the match tied at 0-0 after 90 minutes, extra-time was needed to separate the two sides. And it was Smith Rowe who got the all important opener for the Gunners as he rifled home Alexandre Lacazette’s flick-on.
Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang grabbed a second for his side late on to seal their place in the next round of the competition.
Smith Rowe has been in inspired form for the Gunners, playing an influential role in Arteta’s side’s recent revival.
And speaking to BBC Sport after the game at the Emirates, Smith Rowe revealed his relief at the overturned sending off and reiterated how happy he is to be playing for his boyhood club.
He said: ‘I was really happy, a bit of a relief for me with the incident before (the overturned red card) – it definitely wasn’t intentional – happy to get the goal and get through to the next round.
‘We knew how tough it was going to be, they’re a tough opponent. It was about breaking them down.
‘From a young kid I have always wanted to play for this club, I am really happy.
‘It shows how together we are, we have been working off the pitch to get closer as a group and it shows.’