By Sedara Philip
Arsenal have crashed out of the UEFA Europa League after a painful penalty shootout defeat to Sporting CP at the Emirates on Thursday.
The Premier League leaders looked to be on their way to a comfortable victory when Granit Xhaka opened the scoring in the 19th minute, putting them 3-2 ahead on aggregate after the 2-2 first leg draw in Lisbon last week.
But Pedro Goncalves drew Sporting level in the 62nd minute with an audacious lob right on the half-way line to silence the Emirates crowd.The Portuguese midfielder stole the ball after some sloppy passing between Granit Xhaka and Jorginho in the middle of the park.
Goncalves controlled well and drove before chipping the ball from a staggering 46 yards out, as his pinpoint effort sailed over a scrambling Aaron Ramsdale and into the back of the net to take the game to extra-time.
Arsenal substitute Leandro Trossard hit the post in extra time, while defender Gabriel came close twice in the final minutes of extra time when his header was tipped over the bar, and then he had an effort cleared off the goalline.
Manuel Ugarte was sent off two minutes before the end of the extra 30 minutes after a dangerous sliding tackle on Bukayo Saka.
Sporting keeper Antonio Adan was the hero in the shootout, saving Gabriel Martinelli’s penalty as the visitors won 5-4 on penalties to progress to the quarter-finals.
The draws for the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the Champions League and Europa League will take place on Friday, March 17 in Nyon, Switzerland at UEFA’s headquarters.