Following a 3-3 aggregate stalemate, Sporting CP are into the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League (UEL) after Nuno Santos emerged a hero to give his side a 5-3 success via penalties, with an almighty long-range effort from Pedro Gonçalves seeing this last-16 tie go the whole distance.
This didn’t perturb the current Premier League leaders though, and they took the lead on the 19-minute mark when stand-in skipper Granit Xhaka fired home on the rebound after Gabriel Martinelli’s shot was saved.
The extent to which the Lions had turned the tide was summed up by the fact that Arsenal’s first shot of the second half didn’t arrive until the 79th minute, when Fabio Vieira’s free-kick was pushed away by Adán.
They arguably did so on the balance of play too, as Sporting again began to soak up pressure, and substitute Leandro Trossard came close to restoring the hosts’ lead seven minutes into ET, when his shot was saved onto the post by Adán.
Ultimately there was nothing to separate the sides, despite a point-blank save from Adán against Gabriel in the dying moments of second-half ET that had the Emirates on its feet, leaving an almighty war in the capital to be settled by a dreaded penalty shootout.
With the shootout standing at 4-3 in the visitors’ favour after Martinelli sickeningly saw his effort saved, it was down to Santos to keep his nerves as the ninth penalty taker, and he made no mistake to secure a memorable success for the Portuguese side, while extending Arsenal’s wait for continental silverware to 29 years.