In the light of day Arsenal will not be too hard on themselves, and nor should they be. Elimination from the Europa League to a commendable Sporting side will hardly register as a regret if Mikel Arteta’s players use a cleared schedule to succeed in their push for domestic glory. Nonetheless the novelty of seeing late drama work in an opponent’s favour was unwelcome and a night that stretched to the bitter end may yet have further unwelcome consequences.
Nuno Santos’s emphatic penalty, settling a shootout that had tilted Sporting’s way when Antonio Adán repelled the previous kick from Gabriel Martinelli, sparked delirious scenes among the green and white-clad away contingent. Large numbers of the home support stayed to chant defiantly, aware that this surprise setback should not dampen anything that has passed before. Arsenal did not quite deserve to go through over the two legs but would have still navigated extra time successfully had Adán not saved magnificently from Leandro Trossard and Gabriel Magalhães; the fine margins cannot go your way every time.
Written by Nick Ames at Emirates Stadium
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/football/2023/mar/16/arsenal-sporting-europa-league-last-16-report under the title “Sporting shock Arsenal after Gonçalves goal from 50 yards sets up shootout win”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.