Sporting CP 2-2 Arsenal: Morita own goal denies hosts
Thursday, 9 March 2023
Hidemasa Morita's own goal saved the English side after Rúben Amorim's men had come from behind to lead.
Article top media content
Sporting CP and Arsenal will head to London all square after this entertaining UEFA Europa League round of 16 first leg.
22': Saliba heads in Fábio Vieira corner
34': Gonçalo Inácio glances home Edwards corner
55': Paulinho prods hosts in front
62': Morita deflects Xhaka drive past own keeper
Match in brief: Sporting show spirit before cruel blow
Having survived a scare when Pedro Gonçalves spurned an early chance, Arsenal took control of the contest and struck midway through the first half when Fábio Vieira's corner was met uncontested by William Saliba. The home side were jolted into action, though, and levelled in almost identical fashion when Marcus Edwards' inswinging corner was glanced past Matt Turner by Gonçalo Inácio.
The tide seems to have turned completely when Paulinho turned in a rebound after Turner had parried Pedro Gonçalves' shot and the hosts should have had a third when the goalscorer burst through again only for his composure to desert him. That set the scene for a twist of fate as, barely a minute later, Granit Xhaka's speculative effort cannoned off Hidemasa Morita to leave Antonio Adán stranded and the tie all square ahead of the return.
Carlos Machado, Sporting CP reporter
Rúben Amorim said that Sporting would have to be at their best to compete with Arsenal and they were. It was a roller-coaster game as the Lions conceded first, held their nerve to go 2-1 up and Paulinho missed an incredible chance to make it three. Morita's own goal was a blow for Sporting, but they didn't quit. They went the distance with Arsenal and can go to London to fight for the tie.
Lynsey Hooper, Arsenal reporter
Mikel Arteta will see it as advantage Arsenal taking the tie back to London level. The home support has been electric this season and the Gunners will relish the opportunity to advance next week in front of their fans. There were enough glimpses of brilliance in attack to suggest the Premier League leaders can get past Sporting, but there is work to do at the back if Arteta continues to rotate his squad.
Marcus Edwards, Sporting forward: "It was a good game, we should have won. Now we have to do the same, play the same way, so we are confident for the second leg."
Mikel Arteta, Arsenal coach: "Considering we conceded two goals away from home, we have to take some positives from it. There are things to improve, but we showed a lot of resilience. We have to show [next week] that we are the better team."
Martin Keown, BT Sport
"There are some big games ahead for Arsenal. They will be pleased with the result and I think they will complete the job when they bring it back home."
- Sporting have lost only two of their last 16 home matches in the Europa League knockout phase (W8 D6).
- The Lions have, however, won only three of their last ten home matches in UEFA club competition (D2 L5).
- Arsenal have lost only one of their last ten European matches against Portuguese opposition (W5 D4).
- The Gunners have won only one of their last eight UEFA club competition matches against Portuguese opposition in Portugal (D4 L3).
Sporting CP: Adán; St. Juste, Coates, Gonçalo Inácio; Esgaio (Diomande 76), Morita, Pedro Gonçalves, Matheus Reis; Edwards (Issahaku 89), Paulinho (Chermiti 76), Trincão (Nuno Santos 71)
Arsenal: Turner; White, Saliba, Kiwior (Gabriel 71); Nelson (Smith Rowe 71), Jorginho (Partey 71), Xhaka, Zinchenko (Tomiyasu 63); Saka, Martinelli, Fábio Vieira
The second leg takes place in London on Thursday 16 March. The aggregate winners will enter the Europa League quarter-final, semi-final and finals draws on Friday 17 March.