After an intense Europa League last-16 match between Arsenal and Sporting ended in a 1-1 draw on the night and a 3-3 tie overall, the Portuguese team advanced to the quarterfinals thanks to a save from Gabriel Martinelli’s penalty effort.
The second leg was the most exciting part of the match even before the visitors prevailed in the shootout, 5-3.
After Granit Xhaka tucked in the rebound from Martinelli’s first-half shot, Arsenal appeared to be on track to qualify quite easily. However, the Gunners failed to score at all in the second half and were shockingly defeated by Pedro Goncalves’ amazing lob from the center circle.
It was a strike that would have made Arsenal supporters recall Nayim’s goal past David Seaman in the 1995 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup Final as Aaron Ramsdale scrambled back into his own goalmouth in vain.
Leandro Trossard’s attempt in extra time was deflected onto the post, and Sporting goalkeeper Antonio Adan then produced another outstanding save to stop Gabriel’s header. The visitors’ Manuel Ugarte was subsequently dismissed before an Ousmane Diomande goal-line block denied the Arsenal defender in the 118th minute.
Nuno Santos’ winning penalty, however, gave Sporting the advantage in the end. Mikel Arteta’s team must devote all of their attention to domestic issues because Crystal Palace is going to the Emirates on Sunday while they have a five-point lead in the Premier League.
The outcome of the penalty shootout…
|Jeremiah St Juste
On Friday, March 17, at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, the draw for the Europa League quarterfinals will take place at 12 p.m. UK time. There will also be a draw for the semifinals.
How Sporting defeated Arsenal in an epic battle
These two teams, who had previously produced a chaotic but entertaining match in Lisbon for the first leg, once again produced a memorable match on a stormy and wet night in north London.
Prior to the game, Gabriel Jesus was the center of attention. He looked sharp on his first start since November, played for 45 minutes while stepping up his recovery from knee surgery, and came close to scoring 15 minutes in off a cross from Reiss Nelson.
Arsenal took control shortly after. Moments before, Jorginho had sent Fabio Vieira through with a through ball into the area, but his slide rule effort from his own half was the defense-splitter he had been hoping for, sending Martinelli barreling toward goal. The Swiss got an easy finish after the Brazilian’s attempt was parried into Xhaka’s path.
William Saliba hobbled off before the game resumed, and Arsenal had already lost Takehiro Tomiyasu to injury at that point. But, the interruption to the backline didn’t impact Arsenal’s offensive play because Sporting goalkeeper Adan was alert to stop Martinelli and Jesus in rapid succession.
Yet, Sporting was dangerous on the break thanks to Jeremiah Saint Juste’s strong dribbles, and Ugarte’s pinpoint shot right before halftime was deflected inches wide. They took the lead to start the second half as they did the first, and this time they made it count in spectacular fashion.
Sporting had Arsenal on the back foot right after the restart, but a fantastic strike from Goncalves from close to the halfway line caught Ramsdale off guard and brought Sporting level.
It appeared as though the tie had turned in Sporting’s favor when Paulinho headed onto the roof of the net from a corner and Marcus Edwards shot a one-on-one opportunity into Ramsdale’s face.
But, Arsenal had opportunities in the extra period, and Trossard came agonizingly close to winning it when Adan blocked his attempt. The ball skidded off the wet ground and struck the woodwork.
Before Diomande stopped the defender on the goal line, there was another incredible stop to stop Gabriel in the dying seconds of the game. Following all of that, Ugarte still had time to be dismissed after receiving a second yellow for sliding in on Bukayo Saka.
When Nuno Santos made it five from five for Sporting to defeat their hosts, Martin Odegaard, Saka, and Trossard were confident from the penalty spot but Martinelli’s shot through the centre did not equal their assurance.
Arteta: What a shock, we had such good chances.
Mikel Arteta, manager of Arsenal “We truly hoped to continue and compete, so this is a significant blow. Thank you for your support of Sporting Lisbon.
“We struggled to establish our rhythm and flow, threw the ball away numerous times, and allowed far too many spaces. We improved in the final 20 minutes, produced three significant scoring opportunities, but failed to score. We exhibited exceptional energy and a top mentality in extra time, and we had two significant opportunities. Yet, the penalty shootout is a game of chance.
“Even while the disappointment won’t go away, it does provide clarity. We are presently in the Crystal Palace final.”
Opta statistics: Arsenal suffered another defeat at the Emirates in the Europa League semifinals.
- Since defeating Valencia 3-1 in May 2019, Arsenal has lost all five of their UEFA Europa League knockout round games played at the Emirates Stadium (D3 L2).
- Sporting won their first ever European penalty shootout after losing their previous two attempts (vs Dinamo Minsk in November 1984 & Napoli in September 1989).
- In each of their five European penalty shootouts, Arsenal has alternated between winning (2) and losing (3).
- The Gunners’ shootout victory over Rotherham at Highbury in October 2003 marked their second victory at home and their 23rd overall in all competitions.
- The longest-range goal scored in a UEFA Europa League match since Harry Winks’ goal for Tottenham against Ludogorets Razgrad in November 2020 was Pote’s equalizer for Sporting (46.05 yards) (53.98 yards)
- Sporting received its fourth red card in Europe this season as Manuel Ugarte was dismissed, more than any other team (excl. qualifiers).
The quarterfinals are when, right?
On Thursday, April 13, the first legs of the quarterfinals will be played.
On April 20, the second legs will be played.
The semi-finals take place when?
The semi-finals’ first and second legs will take place on May 11 and May 18, respectively.
When is the conclusion?
On May 31, the championship game will be held at Budapest, Hungary’s Puskas Arena.
On Sunday at 2 p.m., Arsenal will face Crystal Palace in Premier League play.