Sporting Lisbon eliminates Arsenal from Europa League in penalties
Antonio Adan stopped Gabriel Martinelli’s penalty, the only such miss by either Arsenal or Sporting Lisbon, as visiting Sporting swept the Gunners out of the Europa League on Thursday at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal and Sporting Lisbon needed penalty kicks to decide who’d head to the Europa League quarterfinals after Pedro Goncalves long distance goal forced extra time at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday.
Aaron Ramsdale got two hands to one of Sporting’s penalties but the ball made its way inside the goal anyway.
[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]
Granit Xhaka had put Sporting ahead but the Gunners couldn’t solve seven-save Antonio Adan a second time and Goncalves put Ramsdale on a poster with a 45-yard lofted goal.
Arsenal had an early lead in the first leg but found itself in need of a second-half Sporting own goal equalizer to head back to North London on level footing.
Sporting played the final two minutes of extra time with 10 men after Manuel Ugarte collected a second yellow card.
Gunners show heart, lack finish as hot goalkeeper cooks Arsenal
This one stings on so many levels.
Arsenal, the Premier League title favorites, led Sporting with a half-hour to go and just needed to get it over the line to reach the Europa League quarterfinals.
Then came an immaculate bit of genius from Pedro Goncalves, who lobbed Aaron Ramsdale from more 45, maybe 50 yards away from goal. It was 1-1 in the 62nd minute.
Arsenal wasn’t just in danger of being eliminated from the competition; The Gunners were now facing the possibility of extra time and 120, not 90 minutes, on some of their players legs ahead of Sunday’s Premier League visit from Crystal Palace. Gabriel Magalhaes, Granit Xhaka, Gabriel Martinelli, Oleksandr Zinchenko, and Ramsdale went 120 minutes.
And there’s the mental side: Arsenal poured their hearts into this and it was apparent from substitute Martin Odegaard’s Emirates Stadium exhortations that the Gunners very much care about winning anything on offer.
But they also will look at the xG numbers -- 1.89-1.18 -- and feel there was a lost chance. Arsenal was credit with four “big chances” by FotMob to just one for Sporting, but was out-attempted 15-13 and lost at home.
This is a strong bunch and we’ve seen the Gunners rally after losing to Man City, and after blowing the first leg lead away to Sporting. Still, Mikel Arteta has a significant couple of days ahead of him.
Arsenal vs Sporting Lisbon player ratings: Stars of the Show
Antonio Adan: Seven saves on 2.31 xGOT faced for the Sporting Lisbon goalkeeper.
Pedro Goncalves: He had four shot attempts, but beating Aaron Ramsdale from back in Lisbon was special.
Granit Xhaka: It’s not just the goal, which came from the desire to follow the ball into the area, as Arsenal’s longtime leader racked up 12 recoveries and won 16-of-22 tackles.
Arsenal hosts Crystal Palace at 10am ET Sunday, while Sporting Lisbon is off until after the international break.
Granit Xhaka goal video: Swiss mid finishes rebound
Pedro Goncalves goal video: Ramsdale lofted from distance
How to watch Arsenal vs Sporting Lisbon, stream link, kick off time
Key storylines & star players
The Emirates Stadium is going to be electric on Thursday as Arsenal fans see their men within a win over the Europa League quarterfinals and showing few signs of being ill-equipped for a Premier League title run. Throw in more Gabriel Jesus and Leandro Trossard after the pair missed out in Portugal, please.
Marcus Edwards is the fun foil for this one, as the ex-Tottenham forward has found himself a massive part of Sporting. The winger has double-digit goals and assists so far this season. Goncalo Inacio and Jeremiah St. Juste also impressed as part of the Portuguese powers’ back four.
Arsenal team news, injuries, lineup
OUT: Mohamed Elneny (knee), Eddie Nketiah (ankle).