Arsenal crashes out of Europa League on penalties against Sporting CP in front of their own fans. Read more about the match and upcoming fixtures
|Sporting CP players celebrate after penalty shootout success over Arsenal at the Emirates on Thursday. The game ended 1-1 on the night and 3-3 on aggregate. (Photo credit: Sporting News)|
It fell apart for Arsenal in Europe on Thursday night, right in front of their own fans, as Sporting CP knocked the Gunners out of the Europa League on penalties.
The first leg ended 2-2 in Lisbon, and Thursday night was primed for Arsenal to finish the job off.
But after an indifferent opening exchange, the Gunners took a deserved lead and even went on the ascendancy until they got a shock leveler in the second half.
Aaron Ramsdale was caught unawares by a sensational Pedro Goncalves long ranger.
The Gunners looked stunned, and Mikel Arteta made some changes, but as the game ran into extra time and penalties, it all looked like it wasn’t going to be Arsenal’s night.
"I think we did enough in some periods of the game, but for most of the game we were not at the level that we should be," Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard, who converted the first spot kick of the shootout, said after the match. "Part of the game we did well, but we didn't play our best football. It was a tight game, and it could have gone both ways.
"It is a big blow to go out of this competition; it was a big goal for us. But now we have to come back stronger and make sure we finish well in the league."
Focus on the Premier League for Arsenal
Arsenal leads the Premier League by five points but also lost William Saliba and Takehiro Tomiyasu in the first half.
Mikel Arteta seems optimistic about the Frenchman’s situation but appears worried about the Japanese, who was seen leaving the field on crutches.
Crystal Palace is next in line for the Gunner in the league at the Emirates.
Arsenal can create an eight-point buffer to allow margin for error, as their closest rivals, Manchester City, wouldn’t be playing until April, after the international break.