Arsenal’s Europa League dreams crushed by Martinelli’s penalty miss in draw with Sporting CP

    Arsenal were knocked out of the Europa League after losing on penalties to Sporting CP in the round of 16 of the Europa League at the Emirates Stadium.

    Granit Xhaka gave the Gunners the lead in the first half, but that lead was undone in spectacular style by a long-range shot by Pote that sent the tie into extra time.

    Adán made sure the draw went the whole distance with crucial saves to strip Leandro Trossar and Gabriel Magalhain, even though Sporting finished with 10 players after Manuel Ugarte was sacked.

    Adan’s heroism was shown again in the showdown from the spot, knocking off a try by Gabriel Martinelli before Nuno Santos scored to take Sporting to the quarter-finals.

    The Gunners took the lead in the 19th minute with Xhaka’s superb flick forward and Martinelli forced Adán to make a save, but the Swiss international was ready to parry the rebound.

    Sporting started the second period in the lead and scored a stunning equalizer shortly after the hour mark, with Pote spotting Ramsdale from his line and striking the England international from 46 yards.

    The Gunners’ stopper redeemed himself 10 minutes later by rushing from his line to block a Marcus Edwards shot with his face after Ricardo Esgayo let the former Tottenham youngster through.

    Trossard got a great opportunity in extra time when Youssef Cermiti gave the ball carelessly, but Adan deflected the Belgian and saved his shot to the post.

    Sporting’s stopper was again on hand to deflect a powerful Gabriel header and then the Brazilian saw another try from the next corner, but Ugarte saw red after a second caution from a rumble at Bukayo Saku as the game approached a penalty.

    After scoring the first seven penalties in the shootout, Adan thwarted Arsenal again by diving low to his left to clear Martinelli before Nuno Santos successfully converted his attempt to gain a foothold in the last eight.

    What does it mean? The Gunners are now focused on the Premier League

    Five points behind at the top of the Premier League, it’s clear where Arsenal’s priorities will be this season and exiting the Europa League won’t matter much if Mikel Arteta’s side succeeds.

    However, the Gunners’ failure to capitalize on their chances will be a concern as Arsenal have four Opta-determined big chances in-play compared to Sporting’s one, with Adan’s saves making up the difference.

    Emirates debut shootout

    Arsenal’s penalty shootout against Sporting was their 23rd in all competitions, but only their second ever at home and their first at the Emirates Stadium.

    The Gunners’ last home shootout was in the EFL Cup against Rotherham United at Highbury in October 2003, a 9-8 win.

    Amazing Adan

    Adan’s flurry of saves ended up being decisive in both matches, with his performance in north London being particularly impressive.

    The seasoned Spaniard made seven saves to keep the hosts at bay, compared to Ramsdale’s only save at the other end.

    Key facts about Opta

    – For the first time since the 2017/18 season, Sporting reached the quarterfinals of a major European tournament in this tournament.
    – Arsenal have failed to win any of their last five play-off matches at the Emirates Stadium in the Europa League (D3 L2) since beating Valencia 3-1 in May 2019.
    – Sporting won their first shootout in Europe, losing each of the previous two (Dynamo Minsk in November 1984 and Napoli in September 1989).
    Xhaka has scored five goals in all competitions for Arsenal this season, making 2022-23 his highest-scoring season for the Gunners.
    – Ugarte’s dismissal was Sporting’s fourth in Europe this season, more than any other team (excluding qualifications).

    What’s next?

    Arsenal will welcome Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, while Sporting CP will face the Santa Clara Azores after the international break.

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