Arsenal Beat Porto On Penalties, Advance To Champions League Quarter Finals

Arsenal are in the quarter finals of the Champions League for the first time in fourteen years and eight attempts.

1 – 0 winners over F.C Porto at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night, Arsenal needed penalties to finally progress. 

Leandro Trossard’s goal on 41 minutes cancelled out Porto’s 1 – 0 lead from the first leg. It would turn out to be the moment of highest quality in a gruelling game.

It took penalty shootout heroics from goalkeeper David Raya to finally separate the two teams.

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Porto are not the most intimidating opponents Arsenal have faced, or will face, this season. However, nobody has played them as well as Sérgio Conceição’s team. They had Arsenal’s number tactically over both legs of the tie.

Left back Wendell in particular negated Bukayo Saka fantastically over the 180 minutes plus extra time. Saka, as well as his teammates, looked sloppy and ineffective at times but truthfully, Porto just didn’t let them play.

Mikel Arteta’s team started quickly but after 20 minutes, the match settled into the same pattern as the first leg. It was a stop-start, niggly game with a notable lack of chances at both ends. In such difficult conditions, Martin Odegaard’s trickery and incisive through ball on the edge of the box sent Leandro Trossard through to finish well and level the tie. 

There wouldn’t be another chance as clear-cut as that for the rest of the game, and a penalty shootout felt inevitable. Odegaard, Havertz, Rice and Saka scored their penalties confidently while Raya saved from Wendell and Galeno to eliminate Porto.

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You cannot overstate how big this is for Arsenal. Not only is it their best Champions League showing since 2010, it’s proof of their mettle.

This is exactly the type of tie that would have undone several previous iterations of the Gunners. Arteta has developed a resilient young team in North London and with this result comes genuine hope that Arsenal can finally become the force they were supposed to become when they built the Emirates Stadium.

The remaining round of 16 ties take place on Wednesday night, and the quarter final draw will be on Friday.