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Arsenal vs Sporting CP Highlights: Arsenal left with only weary limbs and regrets as their Europa League hunt ended on penalties



Europa League second leg round 16

Arsenal (1) 1 Xhaka 19

Sporting Club de Portugal (0) 1 Goncalves 62

After extra time – 3-3 on aggregate: Sporting win 5-3 on penalties

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Where is the away goals rule when you need it most?
Under the old system, Arsenal would have gone through with the 1-1 draw that ended at the Emirates. The first leg in Portugal ended 2-2. But not this year. It was just a prelude to further penalty problems on the international stage. The Gunners thus lost two European finals. This time it was poor Gabriel Martinelli who missed the penalty there by closing another door towards a potential trophy.

Arsenal will be praying that a tiring night doesn’t come at the expense of their domestic ambitions as they exit the Europa League at the round of 16 stage.
They lost two defenders early on and had to sign first team regulars who hoped to rest as they chased an equalizer and several players got their fair share of kicks from muscular opponents.

Crystal Palace will prove to be a tough physical for them on Sunday. With a tempting first Premier League title since 2004 on the horizon, this could be a year where glory matters less on the European stage. But Arsenal didn’t play like they didn’t care.

The UEFA Second Division team currently doesn’t seem like much of a consolation for teams that aren’t strong enough to end the Champions League affair. Just look at the quarter-final roster ahead of today’s draw: Feyenoord, Juventus, Sevilla, Roma and Man United are all included.

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Breed buddies as companionship for all the best budding dogs. Unfortunately Arsenal will not be there.
The evening started well enough for them, with Granit Xhaka diving on a rebound to shoot in the opener after Martinelli was rebuffed by the inspired goalkeeper captain Antonio Adan, who made a string of fine saves.

But in a moment reminiscent of David Seaman’s disaster at the hands of Nayim in Paris 28 years ago in another ill-fated European final, Aaron Ramsdale was beaten from 46 yards by Pedro Goncalves’ brilliant strike after Jorginho was on a group of green-white circles shirts to cough up possession in the center circle.

That stunning effort thrilled the visitors and their raucous fans and only a brilliant save from Ramsdale denied ex-Spurs player Marcus Edwards another one-on-one goal.
Mikel Arteta fielded a strong line-up but several first-team players were held back until a series of substitutions were needed to regain control after Sporting gathered momentum following their draw. Leandro Trossard, Thomas Partey, Bukayao Saka and Martin Odegaard all joined in an attempt to get the Gunners over the line. Free.

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Gaby Jesus, a Fulham substitute for the first time this year at the weekend, got off to a welcome start and a run from Weber into the box almost ended in a goal – Adan saving the Brazilian’s final try.
He was taken off at the break but showed some of the panache and momentum that will surely come in handy in the final two months of the campaign.

But overall it wasn’t the happiest of nights as early injuries to Takahiro Tomiyasu and William Saliba forced the Gunners to make two unwanted defensive substitutions. Sporting have only lost once in a double-draw with English clubs and were determined and spirited opponents from start to finish. They also showed muscle when needed.

This was Sporting’s second visit to the capital this season. They drew 1-1 with Spurs in the Champions League group stage – after beating 2-0 at home – and their clean football leveled the first leg between the sides last week.
Dropped out of Europe’s top flight, but showed more than a few glimmers of quality during an enthralling draw. And they are hard to beat.

Arsenal had chances to win it in extra time. A loose back pass gave Trossard a clear run on target, but Spaniard Adan confidently deflected the Belgian’s shot into a post.
Adan also did well parrying a Gabriel header from a floating Ödegaard free-kick, and after the resulting corner kick, another Gabriel header was cleared from the line.
In a furious final, Manuel Ugarte was sent off for a foul on Saka – his second yellow card. But he came too late to help Arsenal’s cause.


Highlight video + penalty

Shooters: (4-4-2) Ramsdale – Tomiyasu (White 9), Saliba (Holding 21), Gabriel, Zinchenko – Nelson (Saka 65), Jorginho (Party 65), Xhaka, Scallop (Odegaard 101) – Jesus (Trossard ) h/h), Martinelli

Sporting: (3-4-3) Aden – St Just, Diomande, Inacio – Esgaio, Goncalves (Essugo 93), Ugarte, Reis (Santos 93) Edwards (Tanlongo 119), Paulinho (Chermiti 90), Trincao (Gomes 105) . )