Arsenal needed a big second leg against Stade Rennais on Thursday, and what they got was a performance worthy of Wakanda from its best player.
Down 3-1 after the first leg at Stade Rennais, the Gunners needed to score at least two goals at home to beat the French club and advance to the quarterfinals of the Europa League on aggregate. Arsenal got off to a brilliant start thanks to superstar Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who scored in the fifth minute to put Arsenal in the driver’s seat.
The Gunners got their second goal to put them ahead 10 minutes later, and by the second half it looked like Arsenal was going to pull off an impressive comeback after a shocking first leg saw them down 3-1. That’s when Aubameyang scored his second goal of the game, ensuring that Arsenal would advance on a lovely passing play that beat Rennais’ last defender back and the keeper for an easy tap-in to make it 3-0 Arsenal in the match and 4-3 on aggregate.
To celebrate that, Aubameyang ran to the end line, pulled out a bag and got a Black Panther mask and gloves on. While his teammates surrounded him, he crossed his arms to symbolize Wakanda Forever.
“I needed a mask to represent me,” Aubameyang said after the match according to The Guardian. “So I chose the Black Panther, because in Gabon we call the national team the Panthers.”
It’s a move reminiscent of Victor Oladiapo’s Black Panther mask dunk during last year’s Slam Dunk Contest in Los Angeles. But that was all in good fun, and essnetially encouraged by the NBA in that case. For Aubameyang, doing that during the match cost him a yellow card. Arsenal won anyway, and everything is fine in Arsenal land for now. Especially after a stunning comeback on Thursday.