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Arsenal storm Champions League quarters



  • Penalty shootout
    Odegaard scores – 1-0
    Pepe scores – 1-1
    Havertz scores – 2-1
    Wendell hits post – 2-1
    Saka scores – 3-1
    Grujic scores – 3-2
    Rice scores – 4-2
    Galeno misses – 4-2

London, UK | THE INDEPENDENT | Arsenal booked a spot in the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in 14 years thanks to a penalty shootout win against Porto, with David Raya saving the crucial kick to send us through.

Arsenal  had cancelled out Porto’s first-leg advantage on 40 minutes when Leandro Trossard found the net, and after the break thought they had gone in front but Martin Odegaard had a goal controversially disallowed for a foul in the build-up.

Extra-time couldn’t separate the sides and so it went went to spot-kicks. Arsenal netted all four of our kicks, and Porto struck a post before Raya came up big to win the shootout.

Home advantage

Mikel Arteta told the home crowd to bring their noise and passion and that was the case as the game got underway, spurring us on to begin strongly and carve out the first chances after 12 minutes.

Bukayo Saka nearly got fortunate when he burst into the area but miscued his shot, however Porto keeper Diogo Costa nearly spilt the tame effort into his net but managed to shovel it away for a corner, when a well-worked routine saw Odegaard ripple the side netting from the edge of the area.

But the visitors were quick to show their class and after Evanilson dragged an effort wide of the far post, he forced David Raya into his first save of the night when he blasted goalwards but the Arsenal  shot-stopper beat it away.

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With both teams holding firm and the visitors once again happy to try and eat up as many precious seconds as possible, the first goal in the game was going to be massive. Fortunately for Arsenal , it came our on 40 minutes when Odegaard turned on the style to finally unlock the Portuguese defence.

Jakub Kiwior picked out the captain who shimmied past Francisco Conceicao and then stepped around Pepe before slipping the ball behind Joao Mario for Trossard, who showed great composure to caress a shot past Costa’s dive and into the bottom corner to score in all three of his Champions League home appearances.

Odegaard denied

That brought Arsenal level on aggregate as they went into the half-time break, and when play resumed continued to probe away to find the goal that would give the  the lead in the tie. However, while Arsenal dominated proceedings up to the hour mark, they couldn’t quite find another sniff of goal as Sergio Conceicao’s team continued to display their defensive stubbornness.

On 67 minutes it looked as though Arsenal had the goal it craved. Kai Havertz chased down Pepe in a race for a long ball, and a tangle ensued between the pair and Costa, allowing Odegaard a simple chance to tuck the ball into an unguarded net. While the celebrations ensued, referee Clement Turpin ruled the goal out for a foul, which replays showed was an incredibly harsh decision.

Having worked so hard to find the net again, that injustice could have rocked Arsenal and indeed Raya was swiftly into action again when he pushed away a low Conceicao shot after the winger drove upfield, but Arsenal regathered themselves and with seven minutes remaining Gabriel Jesus nearly made a dramatic entrance from the bench when he nearly squeezed a shot from close range through Costa’s legs but the keeper did well to divert it wide.

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The pressure kept building as Arsenal aimed to win it within the 90 minutes and Saka had another blast which Costa parried into the path of Odegaard who screwed the rebound wide, but ultimately the game was to go to extra time for just the second occasion in the club’s Champions League history.

Raya wins it

Back then Arsenal beat Roma on penalties in 2009, and this tie was destined to go that way too as a cagey 30 minutes occurred with very little action of note. Only one shot was registered in the first half when Mehdi Taremi curled well wide and over, and with legs tiring all over the pitch there was even less to note after the restart, meaning penalties would be needed to decide the outcome.

They would be taken in front of the North Bank with Arsenal taking first, with Odegaard dispatching his kick with aplomb. The first to blink was Wendell who struck Porto’s second kick off the post, while Havertz, Saka and Declan Rice all converted. That heaped the pressure on the visitors, and Raya saved from Galeno to send Arsenal into the last eight.





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