The Malta Independent 19 April 2024, Friday
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Porto beat Arsenal 1-0 with stoppage-time goal by Galeno in Champions League round of 16

Associated Press Thursday, 22 February 2024, 07:14 Last update: about 3 months ago

Wenderson Galeno came through for Porto with the final whistle about to blow. Now, Arsenal needs to rally to return to the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time since 2010.

Galeno scored deep into stoppage time to give Porto a 1-0 win in the first leg of the round of 16 on Wednesday. The English team will need a victory in the return leg in London on March 12 to make it back to the last eight of Europe’s elite club competition.

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Galeno broke the deadlock with a right-footed shot into the far corner four minutes into added time. His strike from outside the area came in what was supposed to be the final minute of stoppage time at the Estadio do Dragao.

“I think the credit for that goal goes to the whole team, for what they did in the 90 minutes," Galeno said. "We played well, we defended well, we left all our energy on the pitch. 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.”

The Brazilian forward, who had hit the post in the first half, was named the man of the match.

“When it’s 0-0, you look up at the clock and it’s 93 minutes gone, if you aren’t going to win the game then don’t lose it," Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice said. “Maybe have the bit of savviness about us to stay in and get a draw in a tough stadium against a tough opponent. They caught us on the counter and he’s stuck one in the top corner which is really disappointing.”

Porto was mostly in control and kept Arsenal from having any attempts on target. The English side was coming off five consecutive wins in which it scored 21 goals in total.

“A lot to play for in the second leg,” Rice said. "We’re really positive as a group, we’ve had such a good start to 2024 that we’re not going to let this get us down.

“We have to change our approach in the home leg and give it absolutely everything,” he added. "Even though we’re a goal down, it’s a nice goal to aim for when we can change it around in the home leg.”

Porto was eliminated in the round of 16 last season. The Portuguese team is trying to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2021.

“It was a good game, a Champions League game,” Porto coach Sérgio Conceição said. "Our opponents had more of the ball, but Porto were always more dangerous.”

Arsenal, making its first Champions League appearance since 2016-17, failed to get past the round of 16 in seven consecutive tries from 2011-17. It has lost its last seven first-leg matches in the last 16.

Arsenal beat Porto at this stage when it last advanced in 2010.

Porto was without Iranian striker Mehdi Taremi because of a right thigh injury.

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