Arsenal will return with a 2-2 draw at Emirates Stadium for the Europa League round of 16 second leg with Sporting CP after a two-legged first leg in Lisbon on Thursday.
The teams exchanged headed goals from corner kicks in the first half, with Guillermo Saliba opening the scoring for the Premier League leaders earlier Gonçalo Inácio tied for the Portuguese hosts.
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The pattern was then reversed in the second half. Sporting took the lead 10 minutes after the break for paulinho before Arsenal restored parity with a lucky own goal when Xhaka GraniteThe cross strayed from the unfortunate Morita Hidemasa.
Mikel Arteta made six changes to the line-up that beat Bournemouth in dramatic fashion on Saturday to maintain their five-point lead at the top of the Premier League. The hero of that occasion, nelson reisswas given a start while Matt Turner He made his first appearance since January in goal.
Sporting, riding a four-match winning streak in all competitions, started brightly. With less than six minutes played, Pedro Goncalves he exposed some shortcomings in the Arsenal defense to cut into the box for a clear shot on goal only with his side foot well off target.
However, it was Arsenal who scored first in the 22nd minute. Saliba took advantage of a gap in the penalty area to head in from fabio scallopLeft corner.
Arsenal came close to a second goal when Oleksandr Zinchenko took a second bite after his initial free kick was blocked, stinging the fingertips of anthony adam while the Sporting goalkeeper deflected the ball over the crossbar.
Sporting, however, would go on at half-time interval level after a more suspect defense from set pieces. With Turner rooted to his line and rookie jakub kiwior dodging the way, Inácio was allowed a free jump inside the six-yard box to head in a marcus edwards corner.
Xhaka came close to restoring Arsenal’s lead with another header from a corner, but the visitors could consider themselves somewhat lucky to reach half-time. Turner escaped a nervous moment when the pass from him to Saliba in his own box was easily intercepted only so the US No. 1 could leap gratefully over the loose ball.
The action got underway at the start of the second half. Arsenal passed close to Vieira and gabriel martinelli before Sporting took the lead for the first time on 55 minutes. Turner did well to save Goncalves’ early effort after a fine reverse pass from Edwards, but was unable to stop Paulinho from taking advantage of the rebound.
The hosts’ lead would not last long, thanks to Arsenal benefiting from a major stroke of fortune just seven minutes later to level the game once more. Xhaka was aiming for Martinelli’s run with a pass into the box but instead hit Morita in the chest to give Adán the completely wrong footing in the Sporting goal.
Both teams made a series of substitutions in the final quarter of the game, but there was a sense that neither team was too disappointed to finish level before the second leg in London in a week’s time.