LONDON: Sporting Lisbon sent Arsenal crashing out of the Europa League with a penalty shoot-out triumph after Pedro Goncalves’ stunning equaliser, while Manchester United and Juventus eased into the quarter-finals on Thursday.
Premier League leaders Arsenal went ahead when a brilliant ball from Jorginho set Martinelli away on the left and after his shot was saved, Granit Xhaka followed up to smash the ball into the net.
But Portugal midfielder Goncalves equalised for the visitors just past the hour-mark as he spotted home goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale off his line and struck a shot from just inside the Arsenal half, his 45-yard effort dipping into the net.
Former Tottenham Hotspur forward Marcus Edwards was one-on-one with Ramsdale but had his shot saved, before Arsenal forward Leandro Trossard had just the goalkeeper to beat in extra-time but his strike was deflected onto the post.
With reality television star Kim Kardashian and her Arsenal fan son Saint among the spectators, the match ended level at 1-1 on the night and 3-3 on aggregate, requiring penalties to settle the tie.
Sporting emerged with a shock 5-3 victory in the shoot-out as Gabriel Martinelli’s weak effort was saved by Antonio Adan and Nuno Santos dispatched the winning kick.
“I think we did enough in some periods of the game but for most of the game we were not at the level that we should be,” Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard told BT Sport. “Part of the game we did well but we didn’t play our best football. It was a tight game and it could have gone both ways. It is a big blow to go out of this competition, it was a big goal for us. But now we have to come back stronger and make sure we finish well in the league.”It was a far calmer night for United as Marcus Rashford’s swerving strike from distance earned a 1-0 win at Real Betis and a 5-1 aggregate success.
Joaquin hit the post for Betis and Juanmi spurned two clear chances for the hosts as they started well, desperately trying to overturn their three-goal deficit at the lively Benito Villamarin stadium.
However Rashford’s brilliant goal early in the second half killed off the tie.
Three-time champions Juventus earned a 2-0 win over 10-man Freiburg to progress 3-0 on aggregate, with goals from Dusan Vlahovic and Federico Chiesa.
Juventus, leading Freiburg by a goal from the first leg, thought they had taken the lead when Vlahovic struck from close range, but it was ruled offside by VAR.
The Serbian forward then broke the deadlock just before the break from the penalty spot after Manuel Gulde handled in the box and was shown his second yellow card.
With Juventus fully in control and Freiburg at a numerical disadvantage, the tie was as good as over and Chiesa wrapped up the win late on.
Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma held Real Sociedad to a goalless draw in Spain to seal their tie 2-0 on aggregate. The home side dominated the chances but the Italians held them at bay with stoic defending. Roma were the inaugural Europa Conference League winners last season.
Sevilla, the record six-time winners of this competition, suffered a nervy 1-0 defeat at Fenerbahce as Enner Valencia netted from the spot, but still qualified 2-1 on aggregate.
Jorge Sampaoli’s Sevilla, struggling badly in La Liga, suffered defeat in Turkey but had done enough at home to progress against Fenerbahce and continue their charge.
Michy Batshuayi went off injured for the hosts early on, damaging their comeback bid, but Jorge Jesus’s team took the lead when Alex Telles handled in the box.
Veteran Ecuador striker Valencia drilled home his 24th goal of the season for Fenerbahce. Sevilla held out to progress despite pressure from the hosts in the second half, as they looked for a second goal to force extra-time.
Moussa Diaby’s early goal and Amine Adlis second-half strike were enough for Bayer Leverkusen to secure a 2-0 victory at Hungarian side Ferencvaros as the German club advanced 4-0 on aggregate.
Teddy Teuma, Lazare Amani and Loic Lapoussin scored for Belgian side Royale Union Saint-Gilloise as they defeated Union Berlin 3-0 to secure a 6-3 aggregate win.
They reach the quarter-finals in their first season of UEFA competition as the German side finished with 10 men after a second booking for Janik Haberer in the closing stages.
Feyenoord thrashed Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk 7-1 to progress 8-2 on aggregate as captain Orkun Kokcu and forward Oussama Idrissi each scored twice.
In the UEFA Conference League last 16, Fiorentina thrashed Sivasspor 4-1, triumphing 5-1 on aggregate, but fellow Serie A side Lazio were knocked out, losing 2-1 at AZ Alkmaar on the night and 4-2 on aggregate.
West Ham United thrashed AEK Larnaca 4-0 to complete a 6-0 aggregate stroll, with Anderlecht beating Villarreal 2-1 on aggregate after a 1-0 victory in Spain.
Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2023