THE Sporting had a dream night in London on Thursday. The task of overcoming Arsenal was seen as a daunting one, but Ruben Amorim saw his players claw their way to the quarter-finals of the Europa League. This in a game that had everything: goals, sending off, extra time and… penalties.
Xhaka opened the scoring in a somewhat unfortunate move for the Lions, but Pedro Gonsalves scored a golden moment in the 63rd minute when he served up a “London-sized hat” to surprise Ramsdale and restore equality on the board. (and in the draw), which remained until the end of regular time.
In extra-time Arsenal got their claws out, but it was to no avail as Adán pushed the English into a penalty shoot-out and then luck fell to the Portuguese.
Next up is this Friday’s draw, which will dictate the name of Sporting’s next opponent, but before that, let’s get to the headliners.
Pedro Gonsalves he has already been through England, playing for Wolverhampton, but many English people must have only settled on the Portuguese international’s name since yesterday. That goal in the 63rd minute is a lifetime moment. From midfield to goal. No pimples. Apart from the great individual moment, that goal emotionally saved the team, who began to believe they could leave London with a qualification.
Antonio Adam He was absolutely instrumental in this match, piling up save after save, some more complicated than others. The Spanish goalkeeper signs a season with some failures, but yesterday he showed himself at world level. In extra time, they were even Sporting’s best unit.
Marcus Edwards he was by far the worst player. He missed passes, made bad decisions and sometimes disappeared. The scandalous manner in which a goal is conceded which sings in Ramsdale’s face ten minutes after Pote’s (lovely) goal. Night to forget English.
Arteta wanted to rotate some of the players in the squad, keeping Saka, Partey or Odegard and saw Sporting take control of the match in the second half. However, you can’t cross the Spanish coach who prioritized the Premier League. The reason is simple: the Gunners have not been champions for 19 years.
Without the likes of Morita, Coates and Bellerin, manager Ruben Amorim assembled a squad that was unafraid to take on Arsenal at the ever-intimidating Emirates. Sporting became a better team than the English, namely in the second half, and only broke level in extra time. In the end he put the brakes on the euphoria, in an attitude very true to his image.
The Spanish Mateu Lahoz he adopted a broad criterion and let the game flow without major interruptions. He did well to send off Ugarte, due to an accumulation of yellow cards, as the Sporting midfielder had to be fouled to avoid a counter-attack in the second half of extra time.
Also read: Pot impersonated Arsenal player at Sporting celebrations in London
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