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Arsenal coach: Exit from the European League is a huge shock

Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta described his team’s exit from the European League round of 16 at the hands of Sporting Lisbon as a “huge shock”, but called on his players to quickly regain their balance and focus on chasing the English Premier League title. Portuguese Sporting Lisbon completed the eight-finalists contract in the European Football League Championship, after winning 5/3 with penalty kicks over Arsenal, England, yesterday evening, in the second leg of the 16th round of the continental competition.

The two teams resorted to playing an extra time of half an hour divided equally into two halves according to the tournament regulations, after they tied 3/3 in the aggregate of the home and return matches. The original time of the return match, which was held at the (Emirates) Stadium in the British capital, London, ended in a 1/1 draw, while the first leg, which took place in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon last week, ended in a 2/2 draw.

Arsenal took the initiative to score with a shot from inside the penalty area by his Swiss star Granit Xhaka in the 19th minute, after he followed his Brazilian colleague Gabriel Martinelli’s shot, which was rebounded from the hand of Spaniard Antonio Adan, the guest goalkeeper. In the second half, Sporting Lisbon equalized by Pedro Gonçalves in the 62nd minute, via a wonderful shot from the middle of the field, where he put the ball down (Loeb), taking advantage of the progress of Aaron Ramsdell, Arsenal goalkeeper, from his own goal unnecessarily.

The matter did not change during extra time, which saw the expulsion of Uruguayan Manuel Ugart, the Sporting Lisbon player, in the 119th minute, for obtaining a second warning, so that the two teams resorted to penalty kicks, which smiled at the end in favor of the Portuguese team. When asked about the extent of the shock he feels, Arteta replied, “Yes, it is a huge shock.” He added, “We really wanted to advance in the championship and compete for the title. We tried for 120 minutes and during the penalty shootout, and that was not enough.” He pointed out, “Looking at ourselves, it started difficult by losing the efforts of Tommy (Takehiro Tomiyasu) and (William) Saliba, and this made it difficult to deal with the match because the changes were limited and some players could not participate throughout the 90 minutes.”

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