Arsenal massive win after 14-year wait for quarter-final spot in the Champions League with a penalty save by Raya

Thanks to a David Raya penalty save, Arsenal qualified for the Champions League quarterfinals in an exciting match after a 14-year absence. In the penalty shootout at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday, Raya saved a spot-kick from Wendell of Porto then went on to deny Gelinho to help his team win 4-2.

Ending the Round of 16 woes for Arsenal

Arsenal had been eliminated from the round of 16 in their previous seven attempts, thus this triumph put an end to a protracted string of setbacks. However, with to Raya’s valiant efforts, they won 1-0 to square the score at 1.

A significant moment for Raya and Arsenal

Being brought in last summer to replace Arsenal’s top player, Aaron Ramsdale—a move that had been severely questioned by the team’s supporters during the season—for Raya, it was a historic occasion.

“It feels really wonderful personally, and it’s our first appearance in the Champions League and the first time in a long time for the club to reach the quarter-finals,” Raya said with excitement. Together with the goalkeeping and teamwork, we’ve worked hard this season on penalties.

First penalty shootout in the Champions League since 2016

Since Real Madrid’s victory over Atletico Madrid in the 2016 Champions League final, there has never been a penalty shootout in the competition.

Barcelona additionally made it to the quarterfinals after defeating Napoli 3-1 in the second leg of their match to earn a 4-2 aggregate victory.

Arsenal’s resilient performance

After Gelinho’s goal in stoppage time put Arsenal behind 1-0 in the first leg in Portugal, Lendro Trusard’s goal in the 41st minute pulled them level. Arsenal struggled to find a way through due to Porto’s meticulous defensive performance, even though neither team scored another goal in extra time.

Overcoming past struggles

Arsenal lost all three of their round of sixteen matches during Arsène Wenger’s leadership (2011–2017), the most recent of which came against Porto. Since winning the championship under José Mourinho in 2004, Porto has not advanced past this round and had last made it to the quarterfinals in 2021.

Arteta’s opportunity to achieve what Wenger couldn’t

Mikel Arteta, the manager of Arsenal, now has the chance to do what Arsene Wenger was unable to do: take home the biggest prize in Europe.

Arteta indicated his happiness, stating, “It’s fantastic. For a team like Arsenal, 14 years is a long period, and it illustrates how challenging it was. It took us a long time to locate that final, beautiful moment. We all put in a lot of effort to make it perfect, and we demonstrated that collectively as we began to create an unstoppable energy at this stadium.”

Porto’s defensive resilience

With a number of time-wasting strategies and robust defensive tactics, Porto had sought to stop Arsenal’s attempts, and in the final moments of extra time, they managed to steal a late victory with a long-range strike.

Arsenal’s relentless pressure

Arsenal kept up the pressure, and in the sixteenth minute, Troisard’s low effort from outside the box tied the score. Arsenal’s perseverance paid off. Shortly after, Raya preserved the scoreline with a vital save from Raya’s attempt.

Arsenal’s breakthrough

The game changed when Troisard, an outfield player at the same age as Arteta, scored a close-range goal after a cross from Martin Odegaard that got past the goalkeeper’s legs. This was Arsenal’s breakthrough goal.

Missed opportunities for Arsenal

Arsenal had more control in the second half but failed to take advantage of multiple opportunities to increase their lead. In the 83rd minute, Gabriel Jesus came dangerously close to scoring, but his shot from a corner bounced off Costa’s legs and went wide.

Tense moments in extra time

Both teams had opportunities to secure the win in extra time, with Mehdi Taremi of Porto getting the first in the 101st minute, but his shot missed. In the last seconds of the match, Sakai then stopped a shot in the box from Edi Nakita, Porto’s substitute.

Arsenal’s penalty shootout victory

In the penalty shootout, Arsenal’s goals came from Odegaard, Howertz, Sakai, and Declan Rice. Raya made the vital stop to keep Gelinio out of the game and advance Arsenal to the quarterfinals.

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