The Gunners exit the Europa League on penalties

The Gunners exit the Europa League on penalties

Arsenal were knocked out of the Europa League after a dramatic shoot-out defeat to Portuguese giants Sporting.

Arsenal made five changes for the second leg against Sporting as Gabriel Jesus returned to the starting lineup with the draw at 2-2.

Both Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard had rare rests as Jesus, recovering from knee surgery, moved into the front of the row.

Takehiro Tomiyasu, Jorginho, Fabio Vieira and Reiss Nelson were also chosen while Ben White, Thomas Partey and Leandro Trossard all dropped out.

Arsenal took the lead after 20 minutes, Granit Xhaka finishing coolly after Gabriel Martinelli’s early shot was saved by Antonio Adan.

The Gunners lost Tomiyasu and William Saliba to injuries either side of Xhaka’s goal as they took a 1-0 lead at half-time, leading 3-2 on aggregate.

Sporting were level just after the hour mark and under extraordinary circumstances.

Pedro Goncalves spotted Aaron Ramsdale out of his way and brilliantly lobbed the England goalkeeper from just inside Arsenal’s half.

Neither team could find a regular time winner at the Emirates Stadium as the match went into extra time.

Sporting were reduced to 10 men in the closing stages of extra time when Manuel Ugarte picked up a second yellow card for hitting Bukayo Saka.

Arsenal failed to charge the extra man in the short span they had that lead as the match went to penalties.

Gabriel Martinelli was the only player to miss on penalties as Sporting progressed to the quarter-finals.

More to follow…

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