Porto 1 – 0 Arsenal – Match Report


Porto scored with virtually the last kick of the game to win a disjointed first leg in Portugal.

There was very little to choose between the sides as the hosts looked to stifle our play at every opportunity, in a stop-start encounter.

Despite seeing more of the ball – and putting 10 corners into dangerous areas – we couldn’t break down the home side, and were hit with a sucker punch very late on.

Galeno curled home a wonderful strike from outside the area, giving David Raya no chance, meaning we need to turn the tie round at Emirates Stadium next month as we look to reach the last eight of the Champions League for the first time in 14 years.


Controlled opening


We dominated proceedings at the start of the game, enjoying more than 80 per cent of possession in the opening ten minutes, but the play was all in front of the Porto rear guard, and we couldn’t force our way into the box.

In fact there was little action in either goalmouth until the 22nd minute when Porto really should have gone ahead.

Galeno, from point blank range, struck the post after the ball looped up from Gabriel’s block.  Raya was rooted to the spot, and had no time to react either when the ball bounced straight back to Galeno, who promptly turned his first-time follow up effort wide of the other upright. Most of the locals inside the Stadio do Dragao had thought the Brazilian had broken the deadlock, but it was a real let off for us, and something of a wakeup call.

Porto, third in Primeira Liga, seven points off the pace, began to grow into the game more, and continued to frustrate us in our build up play.




Leandro Trossard’s wayward effort after half an hour was our first shot in anger, before William Saliba headed Bukayo Saka’s in-swinging corner wide after getting free at the far post.

Kai Havertz – 998 days since he scored the winning goal in the Champions League final in this very stadium – also headed wide from a corner in first-half stoppage time, but all in all it was a half light on clear cut chances.

The second period began in a similarly cagey fashion. The hosts – European champions in 2004 – were doing their best to disrupt our rhythm, with 40-year-old centre back Pepe using all his experience to marshal the team when defending set pieces, many of which resulted in the referee blowing up for a foul in the box as the ball was delivered. 

Declan Rice – who had played since the second minute with a booking to his name – opted to go deeper on his next corner, and Trossard met the cross flush on the volley at the far post, but his shot flew over.

At the other end Saliba and Gabriel both made crucial blocks to deny promising Porto attacks inside the area.


Galeno’s bolt from the blue


Gabriel then headed over a free-kick when he rose superbly to meet a teasing free-kick, but we didn’t trouble Diogo Costa all evening.

And in the last minute of injury-time, we conceded the only goal of the game.

Galeno took up possession outside the area and arced his shot beyond the diving Raya.

Our first taste of knock-out football in the Champions League since 2017 ended with a cruel blow, but there is all to play for in the second leg at Emirates Stadium.


What’s next

It’s back to the Premier League on Saturday, when we host Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium. The home leg of this game will be in three weeks’ time, on Tuesday, March 12.

Copyright 2024 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.


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