Late Galeno Strike Gives Porto Edge over Lackluster Arsenal in Champions League Clash

FC Porto secured a dramatic 1-0 victory over Arsenal in the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 clash at Estadio Do Dragao. Galeno emerged as the hero with a sublime last-minute goal, leaving Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya helpless. The match, which remained uneventful until stoppage time, saw Arsenal’s prolific attack strangely subdued, failing to register a shot on target.

This marks Arsenal’s first failure to record a shot on goal in a Champions League match since 2011. Manager Mikel Arteta expressed disappointment in the team’s lack of aggression and threat in the final third. The Gunners, aiming to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2010, now face a challenging task in the second leg at the Emirates Stadium on March 12.

Despite Porto’s historical struggles away against English clubs, their renewed hope after Galeno’s late heroics gives them an advantage. Arsenal, known for their recent goal-scoring prowess, faced solid defending from Porto, with 40-year-old Pepe leading the backline effectively.

Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice acknowledged the setback as “a kick in the teeth” and emphasized the need to alter their approach in the home leg. The upcoming match at the Emirates promises to be a crucial test for Arteta’s side as they seek to overcome Porto’s advantage and advance in the Champions League.

Arteta criticized his team’s lack of purpose and aggression, bemoaning the missed opportunities. The Gunners’ hopes now rest on a decisive performance at home, knowing there are no easy games at this stage of the elite competition. The second leg on March 12 will determine whether Arsenal can overcome their long-standing struggles and progress in the Champions League after a challenging return to this level.

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