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Galeno decided in extra time for Porto against Arsenal

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Galeno decided in extra time for Porto against Arsenal

Kai Havertz was back on the pitch where he decided the Champions League final in 2021, but there was no scoring for the German or his Arsenal teammates. Here he is in a duel with Porto players Francisco Conceição. Photo: Luis Vieira, AP / NTB

By NTB | 21.02.2024 22:58:39

Sport: Galeno abused an adventurous double chance in the first half, but 30 seconds before the four overtime minutes were up, he got the ball about 20 meters from the goal and screwed it beautifully into the far cross.

All in all, it was a well-deserved victory against an Arsenal team that, despite dominance in the pitch game, did not record a finish between the posts.

It was amazing that the ball didn’t end up in the Arsenal goal after 21 minutes, when within a second Galeno sent a volley at the top of the crossbar and then fired the rebound inches wide of the opposite post.

Francisco Conceição created the chance when he forced his way past two opponents towards the deadline on the right. At the post, there was a duel at the near post, and Arsenal stopper Gabriel cleared straight to Galeno.

The Brazilian pounced on the volley and shot on the volley as well when the post return came straight back to him. The crowd thought it was a goal, but the cheers quickly died down when it became clear that the shot ended wide.

Martin Ødegaard and his teammates had the ball over 70 percent of the time in the first half, and almost as much after the break, but hardly had any chances against an aggressive and well-organized Porto team.

Center back William Saliba had the better of the first half, but he headed wide in the 35th minute from a Bukayo Saka corner kick. There were several wrestling matches inside the field, without the referee reacting.

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The 40-year-old Porto stopper Pepe had 118 Champions League games behind him, more than Arsenal’s entire starting eleven combined (104), and he controlled the defense with great routine.

The team’s other Pepê created a chance just before the break with a cheeky heel kick to Evanilson, who put goalkeeper David Raya to the test.

Arsenal only had half-chances in the second half as well. Ødegaard had a shot from a dangerous position in the 51st minute, but Leandro Trossard stood in the way and involuntarily blocked the shot.

Five minutes later, Trossard took a Rice corner on the volley from a good position, but the ball went over. Gabriel had a header just over the goal in the final minutes.

Arsenal’s winning streak was halted, but the team’s Champions League ambitions have not been destroyed. The last time the team progressed in the Champions League cup, in 2010, Arsenal lost 1-2 in the first round of 16 in Porto, but won the second leg 5-0 at home.

Arsenal are in the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time since 2017 and are trying to advance in the cup for the first time in 14 years. Mikel Arteta’s in-form team had won five games in a row and scored 21 goals in those games, but it became considerably more difficult in the northern Portuguese city.

It became even more dangerous midway through the 2nd half, when Pepê moved away from Kai Havertz, got to the dead line and hit Evanilson diagonally. His shot was masterfully blocked for a corner by Declan Rice, who was very good even though he received a yellow card already in the 2nd minute of the match.

(©NTB)

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