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Arsenal suffer injury-time heartbreak against Porto as Rice shoots himself in the foot

Galeno’s stunning injury-time strike stunned Arsenal in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie. Porto will head to the Emirates Stadium with a 1-0 advantage after the Gunners produced an unusually disjointed performance in Portugal. Here are five takeaways from the game.

Declan Rice shoots himself in the foot

Only 67 seconds were on the clock when Declan Rice was booked. The midfielder lunged into an early challenge on Porto winger Galeno and was shown a yellow card by referee Serdar Gozubuyuk.

Rice’s impact on the remainder of the game was therefore limited. Unable to be combative out of possession due to the risk of a second yellow card, the England midfielder was too often bypassed by Porto.

He avoided the risk of picking up a second yellow so is eligible to play the return fixture.

Galeno scores stunner after missing two sitters

The 26-year-old Galeno was heavily involved in the game. It was his remarkable strike that gives Arsenal plenty of work to do in the tie.

He cut inside from the left and curled the ball into the corner of David Raya’s net, prompting wild scenes on the Porto bench.

Galeno’s goal made up for a horror miss from close range in the first half. He hit the post when the ball fell loose in the penalty area before somehow guiding the rebound wide.

Until the final moments of the game, it appeared Galeno had squandered his team’s best chance of a surprise victory.

Arsenal struggle for tempo 

Arsenal failed to have a shot on target in the game, a rare feat that emphasised Porto’s success in frustrating Mikel Arteta’s side. Head coach Sergio Conceicao deploys a compact 4-4-2 formation out of possession, with the Gunners struggling to break it down.

The likes of Martin Odegaard and Kai Havertz battled to find space between Porto’s midfield and defensive lines. The veteran defender Pepe, who turns 41 next week, often stepped into midfield to ensure Odegaard, in particular, had little time on the ball.

Bukayo Saka remained isolated on Arsenal’s right wing. The 22-year-old’s display was summed up when he misplaced a simple pass into midfield, where Odegaard was waiting to receive possession.

Even when the north Londoners sought to counter-attack, Porto stopped them from advancing forward by conceding fouls that frustrated Arteta’s players. It was a game full of stoppages, with every Arsenal outfit player conceding a free kick.

Porto star vindicated after pre-match comments

Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa insisted Arsenal had weaknesses that his side could exploit. It was a bold statement ahead of facing the Premier League’s in-form side.

He said pre-match: “They have weak points. Of course, I won’t tell you what we are going to do. We will do our best to win the game. If they are the favourites, they need to show us.”

Costa, who produced a confident performance against the Gunners, was proven correct over his comments, though. Arsenal’s display was tepid and they need a win in the second leg with all the pressure on them.

History could be repeated as Arsenal lose to Portuguese opposition

Rewind 12 months and Arsenal were exiting European competition at the hands of Portuguese opposition. Last season, it was Sporting Lisbon who dumped them out of the Europa League.

Back then, Arsenal drew the first leg before losing the second on penalties. They face an even harder task this year. Arteta’s side will need to overcome a first-leg deficit to progress in the Champions League.

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