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Arsenal produce one of their worst performances under Arteta in UCL first leg loss

By Real11 - Feb 22 2024 132 Views
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Porto stun Arsenal with last-gasp winner in UCL 1st leg 

Arsenal were stunned as Galeno’s last gasp strike gave Porto the advantage from the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash. The exciting winger took a couple of touches to set himself before curling one past a despairing David Raya. 

The hosts should have been ahead at the break after a Galeno shot hit the post and somehow he put the rebound wide. That was a big let off for the visitors, but Galeno needed no second invitation in the fourth added minute at the end of the fixture. 

Nico Ganzalez’s authoritative strike had earlier sailed over the bar as the hosts tried to break the deadlock in the first half. The Gunners had plenty of possession but failed to muster a single shot on target in the match, with Kai Havertz and William Saliba heading wide from corners 

The reverse leg will be played at the Emirates Stadium on March 12, when Arsenal will seek to advance through the quarter finals for the very first time since 2009/10. 

Arsenal had various set piece opportunities but weren’t clinical. From one of those affairs, a Declan Rice corner was met with a Leondro Trossard volley which blazed over the bar. 

Arsenal looked jittery and struggled to show the imperious form that has produced 21 goals in their first five PL games of 2024 for them. Perhaps it was the fact that they were playing their first Champions League knockout game since 2017. 

This was also the second instance on record (since 2003/04) the Gunners did not have a shot on target in Champions League, previously failing in similar manner at Barcelona in the last 16 in March 2011. 

Bukoya Saka was pocketed by Porto defenders while Havertz put his only headed chance wide.  Mikel Arteta’s side were apparently holding on for a draw but switched off right at the very end and were duly punished by the sheer brilliance of Galeno.  

Porto are third in Liga Portugal seven points behind Benfica and Sporting Lison, but they never looked out of control against Arsenal, who have yet to win at the Estadio do Dragao on four occasions, drawing once and now losing three times. 

Martin Ødegaard and co have won the first leg of only one of their last 12 two legged knockout fixtures in the tournament (D2, L9), losing their last seven first leg matches apiece. 

Arsenal will need to come up with a much improved show at home next month if they want to go through the quarter finals of Europe’s top tier competition. 

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