There are many times when Sporting have won the moral victories, while the real triumphs have gone to the opponent. NOT this time. Against Arsenal, the leader of the English Premier League and a possible future champion of Britain, the “lions” got the real victory this time, advancing to the quarter-finals of the Europa League, winning on penalties (5-3) at The Emirates of London after the draw (1-1) at the end of 120 minutes. After the draw two weeks ago at Alvalade, Sporting dominated, suffered, dominated again and suffered again. And he came out on top, with a moment of inspiration for Pedro Gonçalves and several such moments for António Adán.
Sporting entered fearlessly. Playing with risk, at the margin of error, making individual duels the way to gain territorial supremacy. And Arsenal may not have expected that. In the first 15 minutes the game was for the “lions”, with more passes, more possession, overall risk and zero mistakes. And during this time, he almost reached the goal, in an individual position by Francisco Trincão, who shot with his left foot into the goal, with the ball passing close to the post.
A good sign and good feelings for Rúben Amorim’s team, but the “shooters” managed to free himself from the restraints and almost reached the goal in the 16th minute. A cross from Jorginho and Gabriel Jesus forces Adán to make his first big save of the night.
The Lions began to break and because Arsenal, who had Fabio Vieira again from the start, managed to have more of the ball and were quick in circulation with the first touch, avoiding shared balls.
And the goal was not long in coming. In the 19th minute, a long ball to Gabriel Martinelli, Esgaio misses the cut and the Brazilian international advances towards the area. Adán still manages to block the shot but, on the reload, Granit Xhaka hits the target. you”shooters» gained an advantage in the draw and, above all, the emotional uptick in the game.
Arsenal tried well to lead this moment. And Sporting struggled mightily, rattled by London’s moves, arriving late for bids. Sporadically, Sporting still managed to trouble, as in a 28th-minute move, a long ball from Adan to Edwards, but the Brit could only beat Zinchenko. At the other end, in the 30th minute, Gabriel Jesus almost doubled Arsenal’s advantage, with a low shot already inside the area, which Adan managed to reach near the post.
Towards the end of the first half, the Lions managed to regain their composure and went into the break as they had started the game, winning the tackles and putting Arsenal on edge. A pair of arache from St. Their fair defense in the opposite area showed some weaknesses in the defensive process of “shootersHigh blood pressure aside, there was room for progress. And, even before the break, Sporting were closer than ever to an equaliser, with Ugarte’s superb shot past Ramsdale’s post.
It was the samementality“, that the “lions” jumped in the second half. Playing with risk, but with an extra, someone who hadn’t appeared yet. In the first 45 minutes, Pedro Gonsalves was devoured by the midfield of the “shooters”, but he reappeared like a shark, giving Sporting another arrival in the London area.
Fast forward to 61′. Paulinho wins a ball in midfield and the move goes to Pedro Gonsalves, also known as Pot. A few meters beyond the midfield line, the “Leonine” midfielder is attacked by a ray of inspiration. Look forward, look at the ball and the right foot on it. The ball goes up and down quickly. All Ramsdale could do was keep the ball in the net. It was a more than deserved draw for Sporting. And with a goal competing with the “verses” of Nuno Santos a few days earlier.
This time, Sporting did not go bankrupt. The “lions” tried to build the equalization and came close twice to 1-2. Of the two, the most scandalous loss belonged to Edwards in the 72nd minute. Isolated by Esgaius, the Briton headed Ramsdale and the ball went wide.
It was the closest Sporting had come to taking the lead in the tie on 90 minutes and, let’s just say, Arsenal were well out of Adan’s territory. And with everything tied, the game went into overtime. At this point, the moral victory of making the Premier League leaders suffer was no longer enough. Only victory and qualification would be completely satisfactory for Sporting.
The “lions” could not transfer the dominance to overtime. And it was Arsenal who had the best chances, especially a poor late pass from Esugo that was cut out by Trossard. The Belgian was in the face of Andan, but the Spaniard managed to parry the shot against the post. And it was Adán who secured the equalizer in the 117th minute with a header from Gabriel Magalhães. And in the ensuing corner, it was Diomande who palmed another shot from Arsenal’s Brazilian centre-back over the line.
In the 118th minute the “lions” were weakened by the dismissal of Ugarte – he saw the second yellow card for a foul on Saka. Sporting were forced to suffer again, this time with one less. He suffered another three minutes and took the game to penalties. No one from Sporting failed and Adán was once again the hero.