Champion League

Arteta Furios With Team’s Champions League Display

Bubbling with confidence following massive victories over West Ham United (6-0) and Burnley (5-0), Arsenal traveled to Estadio do Dragao for the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 clash with FC Porto on Wednesday night (February 21). Mikel Arteta’s side, who were overwhelming favorites for the game, however, failed to live up to expectations in Portugal and returned with a shock 1-0 defeat.

Porto Ace Wenderson Galeno Strikes Late To Ensure Dramatic Win For Hosts

Porto, who are in third place in the Primeira Liga rankings, were all over Arsenal in the opening exchanges. Having put pressure on the visitors a couple of times, Porto came agonizingly close to pulling ahead in the 23rd minute. Wenderson Galeno intercepted Gabriel Magalhaes’ clearance and had a go at goal. It slammed against the left-hand post and came straight back to him. Unfortunately for the hosts, Galeno was not quite ready for it and sent it wide from less than five yards out.

Arsenal’s first real opportunity arrived in the 37th minute, from a Bukayo Saka corner. The Englishman sent his delivery toward the far post where William Saliba was waiting to pounce. The Frenchman, however, got his placement all wrong, as he sent his effort wide for a goal kick. The Gunners got another gilt-edged opportunity to put their noses in front in the 58th minute, as the ball found its way to Leandro Trossard at the back-post. Much to the frustration of Arsenal fans, Trossard put too much power behind his volley and sent it over the bar.

The Londoners’ last opportunity of the night came in the third minute of stoppage time, as Declan Rice found Gabriel with his corner kick delivery. It was not an easy opportunity, but he should at least have tested the keeper with his header.

A minute after seeing Arsenal squander their chance, Galeno scored the winning goal for Porto. Getting on the ball around 35 yards away from goal, the Brazilian made inroads into the opposition third before curling the ball into the back of the net from outside the box. It marked fifth goal in six Champions League matches this season. He also has three assists.

Mikel Arteta Warns Arsenal Have To Do A Lot Better To Qualify For Champions League Quarter-Finals

Throughout the game, Arsenal had seven shots, but none of those were on target. Porto, meanwhile, had eight shots, two of which were on the money. The Gunners’ boss Mikel Arteta was disappointed with his team’s performance in the final third and asked them to pull up their socks for the return leg.

Speaking to the press after the game, the Spaniard said (via The Mirror):

We have to manage much better. We cannot win with the way we handled the ball on three occasions in deep areas. If you want to be in the quarter-finals you have to beat your opponent and this is what we will have to do at the Emirates now.

We lacked threat. We lacked aggression, especially with the ball in the final third. We can do better.”

Arsenal will host Porto at the Emirates Stadium in the Champions League Round of 16 second leg on March 12.

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