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UCL Last 8-Bound: David Raya the Penalty Shootout Hero for Arsenal Against FC Porto

UCL Last 8-Bound: David Raya the Penalty Shootout Hero for Arsenal Against FC Porto

In our previous article yesterday, we headlined the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 clash between Arsenal and FC Porto at Emirates, and indeed it was Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal who became the UCL Last 8 contestants from this continental cup tie in the end. The current best team in the English Premier League with 10 games remaining in the 2023/2024 campaign recovered from their 1-0 deficit suffered versus their Portuguese outfit on enemy’s territory three weeks ago and tied the overall score, pushing the game all the way to the penalty shootout, where Brentford loanee David Raya displayed his heroics and proved why he deserved to be the starting shot stopper for Gunners this season.


Trossard Made It All Square for This UCL Last 8 Decider

Arsenal returned to the top spot of the 2023/2024 Premier League table for the first time since Christmas last year on top of their insane run of eight successful victories in the English top-flight football. During that incredible winning streak in the league, the Gunners also found the back of the net 31 times while letting past only four goals, making them the favourites to turn the 1-0 deficit committed in the first leg against Sérgio Conceição’s FC Porto side.

Both Arsenal and FC Porto traded blows in this UCL Last 8 decider in 2023/2024, until moments of sheer brilliance gave the home side the lead and the overall equaliser at Emirates. In the 41st minute, Norway national football team and Arsenal skipper Martin Ødegaard received the ball just outside the penalty box, before the 25-year-old ex-Real Madrid man displayed his lovely touch of the ball in front of multiple defenders and teed up Leandro Trossard inside the dangerous zone, who then controlled it well and fired a shot to the far post.

The Belgian winger’s 11th goal of the season managed to stay till the final whistle of the first half and not even the second 45 minutes could separate the teams to finalise the participating team in the UCL Last 8 from this tie, meaning extra time has to be given. However, due to the tired legs over recent busy schedules in all competitions, both Arsenal and FC Porto could not manage to pull off any decent chances in the additional 30 minutes plus added times over two periods, leaving the agonising penalty shootout the only way to decide which team will be advancing to the UCL Last 8.

Meanwhile in the AFC Champions League: Al-Ain Eliminate Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr 3-1 on Penalties in the AFC Champions League Quarterfinals


Raya’s No. 1 Status Justified with His Heroics That Sent Arteta’s Men to the UCL Last 8

The UCL Last 16 penalty shootout offered Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya, who returned to the starting lineup due to the Brentford loanee’s ineligibility to play against his parent club in the Premier League last weekend, a chance to prove his worth as Arteta’s no. 1 option in guarding the goal. After successful conversions from the spot by the first three takers in Ødegaard, Pepê and Kai Havertz, Raya delivered an incredible save off Wendell’s shot to the Spanish shot stopper’s right. What came after were another treble of scored penalties from Bukayo Saka, Marko Grujić and Declan Rice, leaving Galeno with no choice but having the need to score his own opportunity.

Galeno of course was the goal scorer for FC Porto in the first leg at Estádio do Dragão when his netted a tally right at the death, but similar outcome did not appear in the returning leg at Emirates last night. Like his older compatriot that missed his penalty at the right side of the goal a few moments earlier, the 26-year-old Galeno did not find success in the same direction, as Raya made another emphatic effort to parry the ball away. The goalkeeper’s heroics completed Arsenal’s turnaround in this cup tie, leading them to their first appearance in the UCL Last 8 for the first time in 14 years.

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Arteta on Arsenal Being UCL Last 8-Bound

Arteta could not be any prouder with his team’s outstanding showing last night that saw them through to the UCL Last 8 in addition to topping the Premier League table at the moment. The Spaniard stated: “A magic night. We expected a really tough opponent. It’s very difficult to generate momentum and that’s credit to them. It’s a huge experience for us. We had to do it as well through penalties. Credit to David who had some difficult moments to start but showed incredible determination and stood up and got rewarded. For (The players) to do it when the club hasn’t done it for 14 years, I tell you it will be a boost. The margins are so small.”

“It’s another big step, especially as a club. For seven years we haven’t been in this competition and for 14 years we haven’t got this far. That tells you the difficulty of it. We want more and we’re going to go for it that’s for sure. It’s the first time that I’ve done it in the Champions League. I try to learn every day, get advice and that’s why you have good people around you, great coaches around you as well to help you and make you better,” Arteta continued to talk about his Gunners reaching the UCL Last 8 for the first time since the 2009/2010 Season.

The shootout defeat stopped FC Porto from playing further part in the European club football competition and allowed Arsenal to reach the UCL Last 8, in which Conceição found it hard to swallow, but he did not forget to speak about an incident happened between him and the opposing manager Arteta. “During the game, (Arteta) turned to the bench and in Spanish – it must be a Spanish coach thing because it was the same thing with Guardiola – he insulted my family. In the end I told him to pay attention because who he insulted is no longer with us, and to worry about coaching his team, because due to individual quality he has an obligation to do more and better.”

Read Next: Real Madrid 4-0 Celta Vigo: Vinicius Junior Shines Again as Real Secure a 7-Point Lead Over Girona

Steven Mosier

"Eat, breathe and sleep sports" is the life motto of mine. My professional athlete career ended way earlier than I thought, but the passion remains till the present, which is why I am here writing you all the sports news you crave! Also, I am a huge fan of the Premier League as well the NBA.

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