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Porto 1-0 Arsenal: Galeno's late stunner gives hosts dramatic win

Porto left it late to secure an impressive first-leg victory against Arsenal in their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie.

Highlights: FC Porto 1-0 Arsenal

Galeno's wonderful stoppage-time goal gave Porto a slender 1-0 win against Arsenal in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie.

Key moments

21': Galeno hits post, misses target with rebound
: Saliba nods wide from corner
: Gabriel heads over the bar
: Galeno bends stunner into far corner

Match in brief: Galeno leaves it late

Galeno and team-mate Toni Martínez embrace after the winning goal
Galeno and team-mate Toni Martínez embrace after the winning goalGetty Images

Arsenal certainly didn't experience the dream return to the Champions League knockout phase they were hoping for, with this their first appearance at this stage since 2016/17. Instead, they were more than matched by a tactically intelligent and determined Porto side, contesting the round of 16 for the third time in the last four years.

Indeed, the first real clear-cut chance of the night fell to the hosts, with Galeno thundering a shot onto the post and then putting the rebound narrowly wide with 21 minutes gone.

Arsenal's potent front line was kept quiet by some disciplined Porto defending, and the Gunners failed to carve out an opening until centre-back William Saliba headed wide from Bukayo Saka's corner in the 35th minute.

The second half continued in a similar vein, with Porto frustrating the Arsenal attack despite the Gunners pressing higher up the pitch. Their clearest sight of goal came when defender Gabriel headed a Declan Rice free-kick over the bar as full time approached.

That was swiftly followed by the evening's most dramatic moment, however, as Galeno made amends for his earlier miss by bending in a superb long-range, right-footed effort to send the home fans wild.

In the end, the visitors were unable to muster a single shot on target during the entire match – a fact that will no doubt delight Porto coach Sérgio Conceição. The result leaves the tie beautifully poised for what should be a fascinating second leg in London in just under three weeks' time.

As it happened: Porto 1-0 Arsenal

PlayStation® Player of the Match: Galeno (Porto)

Player of the Match: Galeno highlights

"Came up with a wonderful winner. Displayed defensive hard work and discipline and provided a piece of magic with his finish at the end."
UEFA Technical Observer panel

Nuno Tavares, Porto reporter

Porto deserved more than a draw following a flawless display against opponents who had scored 21 goals in their last five matches – and they finally got their win right at the very end, with Galeno making up for his first-half miss with the only goal in the second period. Sérgio Conceição's tactics were spot on once again and you get the feeling the Dragons can go to London and get the result they need to go through. Few would have expected that…

Joe Terry, Arsenal reporter

Arsenal struggled to find their usual fluidity in the face of Sérgio Conceição's well-drilled Porto, who deserve immense credit for sticking to their game plan deep into additional time when they were, it has to be said, fairly rewarded with the winner. From being on the verge of going home satisfied if not happy with a valuable draw away from home, the Gunners now need to get back to their best for the return leg in three weeks' time if they hope to go through.

Martin Keown, TNT Sports pundit

Arsenal didn't start the game full-on and with confidence, and it affected them in the second half. It's a sucker punch, and maybe it comes down to experience, I hope it doesn't come back to haunt them. Arsenal are still very much in this tie.


Galeno: 'A big performance'

Sérgio Conceição, Porto coach: "The players must be happy with what they did. The team perfectly understood the spaces they had to step into to condition our opponents and also what we had to do up front to hurt them. It was a good game, a real Champions League game. Our opponents had more of the ball, but Porto were always more dangerous."

Galeno, Porto forward: "I think the credit for that goal goes to the whole team, for what they did in the 90 minutes. We played well, we defended well, we left all our energy on the pitch. Regarding the goal, when the opportunity arose, I didn't hesitate. I am very happy. We will try to replicate in London what we achieved here. We will try to stay solid and give our best, as we always do."

Mikel Arteta, Arsenal manager: "We have to manage the game much better. We cannot win with the way we handled the ball on three occasions in deep areas. If you want to be in the quarter-finals, you have to beat your opponent, and this is what we will have to do at the Emirates now."

Declan Rice, Arsenal midfielder: "It's a real kick in the teeth because we've conceded late, but we know what to do. We're not going to let our heads drop. It's about getting back, recovering, going again in the Premier League, and we'll be ready again for the Champions League, for sure."

Rice: 'A kick in the teeth'

Key stats

  • Galeno's late strike was Porto's 300th goal scored in the Champions League (group stage to final).
  • The Dragons have lost only three of their last 13 Champions League matches (W9 D1).
  • This was just Porto's second win in their last 11 UEFA club competition matches against English teams (D2 L7).
  • Porto are unbeaten in their last four UEFA club competition matches at home against Arsenal. This includes a 2-1 victory in the first leg of their 2009/10 Champions League round of 16 tie (Arsenal went on to win the second leg 5-0 to record a 6-2 victory on aggregate).
  • This was only Arsenal's third defeat in their last 16 UEFA club competition matches (W9 D4).
  • The result ended the Gunners' eight-game unbeaten run in UEFA club competition matches against Portuguese teams (W3 D5).
  • Arsenal have now lost their last eight first-leg matches in the Champions League round of 16.
  • The Gunners failed to record a shot on target in a Champions League match for the first time since March 2011.

    Fantasy star performers

    Galeno: 12 points
    Otávio: 10 points
    João Mário: 7 points
    Wendell: 7 points


    Porto: Diogo Costa; João Mário, Pepe, Otávio, Wendell (Eustáquio 90); Varela, Nico González (Jaime 81); Galeno, Pepê, Francisco Conceição (Gonçalo Borges 85); Evanilson (Toni Martínez 85)

    Arsenal: Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior; Ødegaard, Rice, Havertz; Saka, Trossard (Jorginho 74), Martinelli

    What's next?

    The second leg takes place in London on Tuesday 12 March.

    The aggregate winners enter the quarter-final draw on 15 March.

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