Arsenal 1-0 (1-1 agg, 4-2p) Porto: Gunners reach UEFA Champions League quarterfinal for first time in 14 years

Having fallen to a last-gasp goal from Porto’s Galeno on the Iberian peninsula in the first leg of this UEFA Champions League round-of-sixteen tie, Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal had plenty of work to at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday if they were to progress to the quarterfinals for the first time in fourteen years.

ARS: Raya; Kiwior, Gabriel, Saliba, White; Rice, Jorginho, Ødegaard; Trossard, Havertz, Saka

FCP: Costa; Wendell, Otávio, Pepe, João Mário; Nico, Varela; Galeno, Pepê, Conceição; Evanilson

With the all-important advantage as they walked out of the tunnel, and with a remarkably experienced backline led by 41-year-old Pepe, it should have come as no surprise that Porto would defend as if their lives depended on it.

The Gunners’ attack were rendered useless for much of the first half, appearing frustrated at times, until a moment of magic from Leandro Trossard saw Arsenal draw level on aggregate with just four minutes remaining before the break.

Martin Ødegaard played an influential role in the leveller, holding up the play and dancing around Francisco Conceição before threading the ball back into Trossard’s path, allowing the Belgian to whip a sublime finish into the bottom-right corner.

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The momentum certainly switched into Arsenal’s favour, spurred on by an electrifying crowd in N5 – but the hosts couldn’t slip defensively, with David Raya kept alert for the remainder of the match as a result of chances from Evanilson and Conceição.

With twenty minutes of the second half remaining, Ødegaard thought he had written his name in lights and sent the Gunners through to the quarterfinals as he lifted a deft finish over Diogo Costa – but a VAR check, sparked by incessant appeals from the Porto players, found that Kai Havertz had fouled Pepe in the buildup. The goal was subsequently disallowed.

But even thirty minutes of extra time could not separate these two sides, who left everything on the pitch throughout two hours of non-stop action. Arsenal’s fate would be decided by a penalty shootout, with Raya ultimately prevailing as the hero as he denied both Wendell and Galeno from the spot to spark euphoric celebrations in North London.

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For the first time in fourteen years, the Gunners seal progression to the quarterfinal stage of the UEFA Champions League, and now await Friday’s draw to find out their next opponent. With their scheduled match this weekend postponed as a result of Chelsea’s Emirates FA Cup clash against Leicester City, Mikel Arteta’s side are now out of action until they face Manchester City on 31 March.