Arsenal knocked out of Europa League by Sporting

Arsenal faced a penalty shootout heartbreak after Gabriel Martinelli’s spot-kick was saved as Sporting Lisbon sent Arsenal out of the Europa League at the Emirates Stadium.


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Arsenal scored first through Granit Xhaka (19′) after a rebound. However, the long–range chip from Sporting player Pedro Goncalves forced extra.

Gabriel Martinelli’s spot-kick was saved to send Arsenal out of Europa League

Apart from the penalty save, the Sporting goalkeeper made several saves; twice in the final minutes of extra time before an effort from Gabriel was cleared off the goalline.

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Sporting’s Manuel Ugarte was also sent off after a dangerous sliding tackle on Bukayo Saka minutes before their shootout victory.

It was a fixture packed with action as Arsenal substitute Leandro Trossard hit the post in extra time, and Sporting forward Marcus Edwards who had played for Tottenham, was denied a goal by goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale minutes after Goncalves made it 1-1 in normal time.

The draw for the Europa League quarter-finals takes place on Friday, March 17, in Nyon, Switzerland at UEFA’s headquarters. The semi-final draw will also be made.

Mikel Arteta made five changes after a 2-2 draw in the first leg to the Arsenal starting XI with a return for striker Gabriel Jesus, making a first start since December after recovering from a knee injury.

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Arteta was forced to make substitutions after defenders William Saliba and Takehiro Tomiyasu were forced out due to injury after stretching from Tomiyasu.

It was a mouthwatering clash as England goalkeeper Ramsdale had made several saves, while Trossard, Martinelli and Gabriel all tested the Sporting keeper Adan at the other end.

Despite Arsenal’s European journey coming to an end The Gunners now focus on the next match before the international break against Crystal Palace in three days’ time.

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Sporting will play the first legs of the quarter-finals on Thursday, April 13; the second legs will be played Thursday, April 20. The next stage is the first legs of the semi-finals which will be held on May 11, and the second legs on May 18.

Whoever qualifies for the final will battle it out on May 31 at the Puskas Arena in Budapest, Hungary.

Arteta after the game:

“Yeah a huge blow. We really wanted to go through in the competition and fight and go for it. Today we tried for 120 minutes and penalties and it wasn’t enough. Congrats to Sporting Lisbon firstly. Looking at ourselves it started difficult losing Tomi and Saliba and that made it hard to manage the game because we only had a window to make the subs and a few players couldn’t play 90 minutes.”

“Still, we didn’t find our rhythm and flow, allowed too many spaces, were late, didn’t dominate there and gave the ball away many times, sometimes time after time. Then in the last 20 minutes we got our flow, we got the momentum, we deserved much more. We created three big chances and didn’t core. When we went to extra time we showed incredible energy again and top mentality when it wasn’t our best day to keep going. We had another big two chances and didn’t win. At the end it came to the penalties and it’s a lottery and it didn’t go our way today.”

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Arteta on injuries:

“I don’t know. Tomiyasu looks pretty serious from his reaction straight and what he said to me, but obviously it’s very early. Willy I don’t know, he had some discomfort and could not continue so we had to take him out.”

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Arteta on Martinelli’s reaction:

“He will react well. Obviously disappointed today. We all are. When you take those decisions that possibility is there. He will learn from it like Bukayo did in the past and move on.”


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