Ivorian winger Pepe scores twice as Arsenal beat Crystal Palace 3-1

AP , Wednesday 19 May 2021

Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe, right, is challenged by Crystal Palace's Tyrick Mitchell during the English Premier League soccer match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal, at Selhurst Park in London, England, Wednesday, May 19, 2021. AP

Gabriel Martinelli and Nicolas Pepe scored in second-half stoppage time to give Arsenal a 3-1 win at Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Wednesday, keeping alive the team's outside chances of qualifying for European competition next season.

Martinelli, a substitute, bundled in from close range in the first minute of added-on time before Pepe scored his second of the match to clinch a victory that moved Arsenal into ninth place.

Mikel Arteta's team is in the fight to finish in the qualifying spots for the lower-tier European competitions -- the Europa League and the Europa Conference League -- heading into the final round on Sunday.

Christian Benteke's diving header at a free kick in the 62nd minute canceled out a well-worked team goal finished by Pepe in the 35th at Selhurst Park, where up to 10,000 fans returned for the first time after an easing of pandemic restrictions.

It was Roy Hodgson's final home in charge of Palace. The former England coach said this week he'd be leaving at the end of the season having been in charge since September 2017.

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