Raya the hero as Arsenal edge Porto on penalties to reach Champions League quarter-finals

Arsenal players celebrate after winning on penalties. Photograph: Zac Goodwin/PA

London, Arsenal (UK):- David Raya was the hero of the night on Tuesday as Arsenal Tuesday edged out FC Porto 4-2 in penalties to reach the Champions League quarter finals for the first time since 2010.

The Spanish goalkeper, on loan from Brentford saved two penalties to push Arsenal through, keeping their dream of being European Champions alive. Raya stopped Galeno and Wendell while also getting a hand to Marko Grujic’s take.

Martin Odegaard, Havertz, Bukayo Saka scored Arsenal’s first three penalties, while David Raya’s save from Wendell’s kick gave Mikel Arteta’s side the lead.

Declan Rice then stepped up and scored, giving Raya the chance to be the hero.

The Match

The Gunners knew they needed to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit and Leandro Trossard ensured they’d completed half of their mission by half-time. Porto did anything but sit in as they sought to protect their lead, but couldn’t stop the Belgian putting Arsenal ahead.

After both teams trading 1-0 victories in each of their home matches, the duo couldn’t be separated during 30 minutes of extra time leading to what turned into an excellent shootout.

The shootout was the first of its kind at this stage of the competition since 2016, when Real Madrid faced Atletico Madrid in a repeat of the Madrid derby in the champions league.

David Raya speaking after the match said; “It’s a great feeling, especially for me personally. First time in the Champions League for me, first time for the club to get the quarter-finals in many years.

We’ve been working on penalties a lot, for nights like this. All the hard work has paid off. It’s a great moment personally and collectively … although I should have saved three!”

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David Raya of Arsenal makes the match-winning save from the fourth penalty. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

While his coach Mikel Arteta said; “It’s been 14 years – a long time for a club like Arsenal. We had to dig in today, and find the magic moment. In the stadium, we were all pushing to get it done, and we did it. This is where we want to be, and we worked so hard.”

“It was really difficult, Porto are a really competitive team. You don’t get time to control the game, but we scored a goal in a really important moment. We didn’t have many chances, but we managed to do it! The energy the fans brought helped us the whole way. They made us win.”

Arsenal’s next game is 19 days away when they face title rivals Manchester City at Etihad on Sunday, March 31, just as the league action resumes from the international break.

Other Results

In the other match on the night, Barcelona eased way through to fend off any effort from Napoli, thanks to a 3-1 victory at the Camp Nuo to progress on 4-2 aggregate.

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With two goals in 14 minutes of play, Barcelona were off and running behind Fermin Lopez and Joao Cancelo before Napoli tried to push for a victory. Robert Lewandowski got the finishing goal to restore the advantage and close things out.

Arsenal now join Manchester City, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona in the quarter final of the Champions League whose draw will be conducted on Friday, March 15, 2024.

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