Arsenal vs Sporting CP: Player ratings as Gabriel Martinelli misses penalty and Gunners exit Europa League
Arsenal’s hopes of a major European trophy were left in tatters after a penalty shootout settled their round of 16 tie against Sporting CP. The visitors made a bright start to the game in attack but failed to create anything of note as Arsenal eased themselves into the game.
Soon enough, the Gunners began to create chances and Gabriel Martinelli was sent in behind the defence in the 19th minute. He forced a good save from Antonio Adan but the rebound fell straight to Granit Xhaka, who gracefully swept the ball into the far corner.
However, Sporting equalised through Pedro Goncalves, also known as Pote, who scored an outrageous goal from almost the halfway line - the midfielder looked up, saw Aaron Ramsdale off his line and hit a perfect lob over the goalkeeper from just within the Arsenal half.
As the game went into extra time, Arsenal began to dominate with most of their first-choice players on the pitch. Leandro Trossard was unlucky to hit the post and Adan pulled off two excellent saves towards the end of extra time as the tie headed for a shootout.
Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka both scored and Trossard squeezed his penalty under Adan, only for Gabriel Martinelli to miss the key penalty for Arsenal, who could only watch on as Nuno Santos converted to send Sporting through. Here are the player ratings from the match:
Aaron Ramsdale, 7
Perhaps slightly at fault for the goal but made an excellent save from Edwards in the 70th minute and looked assured as always.
Takehiro Tomiyasu, 6
Taken off due to injury within ten minutes, so no time to make a mark on the game in any way.
William Saliba, 6
Untroubled despite early Sporting threat. Taken off on twenty minutes, just after the first goal and only another ten minutes after Tomiyasu.
Gabriel Magalhaes, 7
Looked an awful lot less solid without his usual partner in Saliba, but chipped in with several good challenges, blocks and clearances and won his duels.
Oleksandr Zinchenko, 7
An incisive pass into the box (despite the referee running into him) followed by excellent tracking back and blocking showed Zinchenko’s ability and importance to this team. The Ukrainian was excellent throughout; resolute in defence and always offering another attacking outlet.
Fabio Vieira, 6
The Portuguese remains a promising player but was subdued tonight, failing to create any notable chances despite often getting into good positions. Tried a flick in the box early in extra time when a simple pass would have worked better, summing up his night.
The January signing looked calm and composed in midfield but lacks the steel of Thomas Partey and was replaced by the Ghanaian after Gonclaves’ goal. Passing as accurate as always but just lacking the ability to help dominate a game.
Granit Xhaka, 8
The Arsenal captain continued his renaissance at the club with an excellently taken goal. Didn’t dominate midfield - even with Partey coming on - but an assured performance in both attack and defence.
Reiss Nelson, 6
Always looked to get forward and looked promising in the opening stages but didn’t get the chance to make his mark on the game. Was taken off for Saka after the first Sporting goal.
Gabriel Martinelli, 7
Consistently a threat whether receiving the ball in front of or in behind the defence. Forced a good save from Adan which led to Xhaka’s goal, dovetailed nicely with Jesus and consistently made the right decisions. Cruel that he missed his penalty.
Gabriel Jesus, 7
Looked lively on his first start since injury. Forced an excellent save from Adan and, like Martinelli, was threatening with the ball in front of the defence while also making good runs in behind. Unlucky to be taken off at half time, his substitution certainly not because of his performance.
Ben White 7, Rob Holding 7, Leandro Trossard 6, Thomas Partey 6, Bukayo Saka 6, Odegaard 7
Adan 8, St. Juste 6, Diomande 7, Inacio 6, Esgaio 7, Ugarte 7, Goncalves 8, Reis 6, Edwards 6, Trincao 6, Paulinho 6.
Subs: Chermiti 6, Essugo 6, Santos 6, Gomes 6, Tanlongo 5
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