Sporting Knock Out Arsenal, Book Europa League Quarters
Sporting Lisbon knocked Arsenal out of the Europa League with a 5-3 victory on penalties after Pedro Goncalves scored an incredible equalizer for the Portuguese side in Thursday’s last 16 second leg.
Sporting trailed when Granit Xhaka put Premier League leaders Arsenal ahead in the first half at the Emirates Stadium.
But Portugal midfielder Goncalves forced extra time when he beat Arsenal keeper Aaron Ramsdale with a breath-taking strike from 46 yards out.
Goncalves’s bolt from the blue was reminiscent of David Beckham’s astonishing long-range chip for Manchester United against Wimbledon that launched him to superstardom in 1996.
With a pulsating encounter level at 1-1 on the night and 3-3 on aggregate it needed penalties to settle the tie.
It was Sporting who emerged with a shock victory as Gabriel Martinelli’s effort was saved by Antonio Adan and Nuno Santos dispatched the winning kick.
Adding to Arsenal’s woes, defenders William Saliba and Takehiro Tomiyasu had limped off injured in the first half after Gunners boss Mikel Arteta tried to protect his key players by making five changes.
Arsenal haven’t won a European trophy since lifting the Cup-Winners’ Cup in 1994 and their wait will go on for another year.
But the Gunners would gladly swap Europa League success for a long-awaited Premier League title.
Arsenal sit five points clear of second placed Manchester City in the Premier League as they chase a first title since 2004.
It was Sporting’s first victory in England since 2005 when they beat Middlesbrough in the UEFA Cup.
Arteta had fielded a strong side in the first leg in Lisbon, but was more cautious ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash with Crystal Palace, resting Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, Leandro Trossard, Ben White and Thomas Party.
Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.