Sporting Lisbon midfielder Pedro Goncalves proved to be the hero for his side in the Emirates and rubbed salt into Gunners’ wounds after his side knocked Arsenal out of the Europa League
Sporting Lisbon star Pedro Goncalves rubbed salt into Arsenal’s wounds after appearing to mock Granit Xhaka in the wake of the Gunners’ exit from the Europa League.
The north London side were kicked out of Europe in the last-16 stage on Thursday night after a penalty shootout defeat. Nuno Santos was the eventual winner of the Portugal national team at the Emirates Stadium, but it was perhaps Goncalves who put his name in the limelight.
It had all started so well for Arsenal after Xhaka put Arsenal ahead. He duly celebrated by holding his hand to his nose and wiggling his fingers in what appeared to be a message to his daughter — if the Swiss woman’s Instagram post was anything to go by.
Former Wolves man Goncalves then equalized with a stunning goal. After getting too much space in the heart of midfield, he lobbed Gunners goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale from near the halfway line.
The Portuguese celebrated exuberantly after his stunning goal, but it wasn’t until Sporting had beaten his hosts on penalties that he got a little carried away. He walked over to the away supporters sitting in the corner and copied Xhaka’s celebration.
During the match itself, former Arsenal star Kevin Campbell was left purring over Goncalves’ goal. Speaking on Sky Sports, he said: “What an incredible strike from Goncalves. He’s seen Ramsdale outside his line.
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“Arsenal have been very wasteful in the middle of the field. They gave the ball away all through the second half.
“They’ve given the ball away but there doesn’t seem to be any danger. What does Goncalves do? He pings the ball over Ramsdale from close to the halfway line. It’s an incredible attack and now Arsenal have it all. 1-1 and it’s going to be hell fight now
“It seemed like Arsenal weren’t in trouble and for someone to deliver such a moment of quality is incredible.”
While Campbell praised the strike, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta was left furious with his players after his side’s elimination. After the full-time whistle, he said: [It’s a] huge blow of course. Especially in the first 75 minutes there were times when we were not at our level. We gave away every ball.
“We didn’t have the capacity to dominate the game and take the game where we wanted. It’s true that in the last 15 minutes we had the chances and in extra time we had the chances to win. If it turns out for the penalties, it’s a lot of uncertainty and we lost that.”
Arsenal are now forced to focus on their battle to end the long wait for a domestic league title as Sporting enter the draw on Friday where they could be paired with another Premier League side in Manchester United .