Arsenal End 14-Year Champions League Quarterfinal Drought with Penalty Shootout Win

Arsenal End 14-Year Champions League Quarterfinal Drought with Penalty Shootout Win

Arsenal’s 14-year wait for a Champions League quarterfinal berth has come to an end, thanks to a heroic performance from goalkeeper David Raya in a penalty shootout victory over Porto.

Raya’s heroics in the shootout, where he saved two penalties, secured a 4-2 win after the match ended 1-1 on aggregate. Arsenal had trailed 1-0 from the first leg in Portugal, but Leandro Trossard’s goal in the 41st minute leveled the tie.

Despite extra time, neither side could find a winning goal, leading to the penalty shootout. Arsenal’s Leandro Trossard, Kai Havertz, Bukayo Saka, and Declan Rice all converted their spot kicks, setting the stage for Raya’s decisive save.

Raya’s performance was a vindication for Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, who had faced criticism for his decision to replace Aaron Ramsdale as the club’s No. 1 goalkeeper. “It’s a great feeling for me personally,” Raya said. “We’ve worked a lot on penalties this year, and all the hard work has paid off.”

Arsenal’s victory marks a significant milestone for the club, which had endured seven straight round-of-16 losses under Arsene Wenger. It also gives Arteta a chance to achieve what Wenger never could: winning the Champions League.

“We’re starting to create an unbelievable energy in the stadium,” Arteta said. “We were all pushing to get it done, and together we have done it.”

Porto, meanwhile, will be disappointed to have come so close to reaching the quarterfinals. The Portuguese side had defended resolutely throughout the match, but Raya’s heroics proved too much to overcome.

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