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Immense respect at the Emirates as two sides unite to pay tribute to Sala.

CARDIFF City and Arsenal fans, players and officials came together at the Emirates Stadium last night in respect to Emiliano Sala, writes Dominic Booth.

Football rivalries have been put aside around the country in the past week following Sala's disappearance, along with pilot David Ibbotson, in a light aircraft over the Channel Islands last week.

With some of the biggest names in football helping to get crowdfunding effort off the ground to start a private search, there was again immense respect for Sala before the Premier League clash between Cardiff and Arsenal at the Emirates.

After one of the most difficult weeks in the Bluebirds' history, the team paid tribute to Sala just before their first game since the incident.

The Emirates fell silent for a moment of reflection, while Bluebirds fans held up yellow placards when the teams emerged. They had been singing Sala's name hours before kick off - in honour of the new signing they never saw in action.

There was then a minute's applause which rang around the ground, with emotions running high.

"You are our Bluebird, Sala," read one Cardiff shirt that was held up. "Allez Nantes" it said on a flag of the French club Sala was long associated with, while a banner was also unfurled in the away end.

A daffodil floral tribute from the two captains - Sol Bamba and Mesut Ozil - had been laid on the pitch and emotions ran high before referee Mike Dean got the Premier League encounter under way at 7.45pm.

Players, officials and fans also wore yellow daffodils, the flower which has become the symbol of the tributes as a Welsh flower and one in the colour of Sala's old club Nantes.

Arsenal also included Sala's name and a small daffodil motif on the Cardiff squad list as part of the match programme, with Gunners boss Unai Emery adding his words to the emotional Neil Warnock tribute on Monday.

Before the game, he said: "All our thoughts are with Nantes and Cardiff and to the player and the pilot's families and friends, and we are going to remember them.

"After, we are going to play one match and be remembering this situation, but also giving together for one recovery for Emiliano Sala and for the pilot."

CAPTION(S):

Arsenal's Matteo Guendouzi (left) and Cardiff City's Lee Peltier battle for the ball. Inset below, Emiliano Sala's name on last night's teamsheet

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Jan 30, 2019
Words:402
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