Declan Rice questioned the cleverness of his Arsenal team for their lack of game management as they conceded a late goal to give Porto victory with the match so close to over.
The first leg of the tie was goalless, and looked likely to remain that way, before Galeno scored a wonderful winning goal from outside the area four minutes into added time.
It gave the Portuguese team a slight advantage heading into the second leg in London on 12 March, but Rice felt that Arsenal should have done more to secure a draw, especially with the clock so late in the match.
Rice told TNT Sports: “I think when it’s 0-0 and you look at the clock, 93 minutes have passed.” If you’re not going to win the game, don’t lose it.
“Maybe we have a little bit of guile at the end to stay and get a draw in a difficult stadium against a difficult opponent.”
Declan Rice believes that Arsenal lacked “that bit of cunning” to hold on to the match against Porto
Porto striker Galeno scored a great goal in injury time to snatch victory on Wednesday.
Your browser does not support iframes.
Arsenal had no attempts on goal during the match at the Estadio do Dragao, but looked likely to draw even, until Galeno’s late heroics.
Conceding so late, Rice said: “There were a couple of freebies on the edge of our till. We got caught on the counter and stuck one in the top corner, which is really disappointing.
“We are very positive as a group, we have had such a good start in 2024 that we are not going to let this get us down.” We will address this game.”
Arsenal return to action in Saturday’s Premier League game at home to Newcastle United, and Rice admitted they would have to bounce back from the disappointment in Portugal to face the Magpies.
Asked what to take from the defeat, he said: “You don’t know what to expect, you can’t overlook anyone because it’s the Champions League.”
“It’s a real kick in the teeth because we conceded late but we know what to do.”
Following Arsenal’s positive start to 2024, Rice said: “We’re not going to let this get us down.”
“We are not going to let our heads hang, it is about coming back, recovering, getting back to the Premier League and we will surely be ready again for the Champions League.”
After the game against Newcastle, Arsenal have league games against Sheffield United and Brentford before the return match in north London on March 12.