Sporting CP beat Arsenal in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw at the Emirates on Thursday in the second leg of their Europa League round-of-16 tie to advance to the quarterfinals.
The tie was level on aggregate after this past Thursday’s 2-2 draw in Lisbon and Granit Xhaka struck in the first half, before Pedro Goncalves scored an unbelievable goal from just past midfield to draw things level and send the match to extra time and then a shootout.
“I think we did enough in some periods of the game, but for most of the game we were not at the level that we should be,” Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard, who converted the first spot kick of the shootout, said after the match. “Part of the game we did well, but we didn’t play our best football. It was a tight game and it could have gone both ways.
“It is a big blow to go out of this competition, it was a big goal for us. But now we have to come back stronger and make sure we finish well in the league.”
Ramsdale then required attention from Arsenal’s medical staff in the 72nd minute after taking a well-struck Marcus Edwards shot to the face, but the England international was able to carry on after spending a few moments on his back.
Neither team could find a go-ahead goal in regulation and the game went to extra time level at 3-3 on aggregate.
Saliba and Tomiyasu injury worries for Arsenal
Even before the Gunners were knocked out of Europe, their night took an early double hit.
Both Takehiro Tomiyasu and William Saliba were forced off in the first half with injuries. While both walked from the field, their withdrawal will spark some concern and Arteta will be hoping neither are too serious as they look to maintain their lead atop the Premier League table.
Thankfully for Arsenal, they face a shot-shy Crystal Palace next in league action so may be able to get away with a weakened backline temporarily.
After a fairly pedestrian opening 15 minutes, Gabriel Jesus, back in the starting line-up for the first time since November, had our first attempt on goal.
Reiss Nelson did well to curl in a cross from the right and Jesus arrived at the far post, but was unable to make proper contact with his shot and the keeper clawed it away.
It was only a temporary respite for Sporting though.
Gabriel Martinelli streaked away down the right wing after being found by a raking Jorginho pass, and headed into the box. His low shot was parried by Antonio Adan, but there was Xhaka to finish smartly first-time inside the post.
Wearing the armband in place of the rested Martin Odegaard, it was Xhaka’s fifth goal of the season – his best return for us.
We struggled to get going again, and it was Sporting who took advantage, with an extraordinary goal on the hour mark.
Jorginho was dispossessed on the halfway line and Pedro Goncalves moved onto the ball. He took a touch, spotted Aaron Ramsdale well off his line and sent his shot looping over the keeper, and just under the bar. He was fully 45 yards out and the incredible strike sent the away fans into raptures.
The intensity picked up. Ramsdale came to the rescue when Marcus Edwards raced through on goal one on one. The former Tottenham looked favourite to score, but our keeper raced out bravely to deny him, taking the shot square in his face.
Premier League leaders Arsenal, who are five points ahead of Man City in the table, are back in action on Sunday against Crystal Palace. Sporting will await the results of Friday’s Europa League draw to see who they will face in the quarterfinals.
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