Sporting Lisbon goal hero Pedro Goncalves mocks Granit Xhaka after Arsenal penalty agony
Sporting Lisbon midfielder Pedro Goncalves proved his side’s hero in the Emirates, rubbing salt in the Gunners’ wounds after his side eliminated Arsenal from the Europa League
Sporting Lisbon star Pedro Goncalves rubbed salt in Arsenal’s wounds after taunting Granit Xhaka following the Gunners’ Europa League exit.
The north London side were eliminated from Europe in the round of 16 on Thursday night following a penalty shoot-out defeat. Nuno Santos was the eventual game winner for the Portuguese side at the Emirates Stadium but it was arguably Goncalves who put his name in the spotlight.
It all started so well for Arsenal after Xhaka gave Arsenal the lead. He duly celebrated by putting his hand to his nose and wiggling his fingers in what appeared to be a message to his daughter – if the Swiss woman’s Instagram post was anything.
Former Wolves man Goncalves then equalized with a stunning goal. After being given too much space in the heart of midfield, he threw Gunners goaltender Aaron Ramsdale from near the halfway line.
The Portuguese celebrated wildly after his dream goal, but it wasn’t until Sporting beat their hosts on penalties that he got a little carried away. He went to the visiting fans huddled in the corner and copied Xhaka’s celebration.
During the game itself, former Arsenal star Kevin Campbell purred over Goncalves’ goal. Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “What an incredible goal by Goncalves. He spotted Ramsdale off his line.
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“Arsenal were very wasteful in the middle of the pitch. They gave the ball away the whole second half.
“They gave the ball away but there doesn’t seem to be any danger. What is Goncalves doing? He slides the ball over Ramsdale from near the center line. It’s an incredible goal and now Arsenal have everything to do. 1:1 and it’s going to be a hell of a fight now
“It looked like Arsenal weren’t struggling and for someone who produces such a moment of quality it’s incredible.”
While Campbell praised the goal, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta was furious with his players after his side’s exit. After the final whistle he said: [It’s a] big hit, obviously. Especially in the first 75 minutes there were moments when we weren’t at our level. We gave away every single ball.
“We didn’t have the capacity to dominate the game and take the game where we wanted. It’s true, in the last 15 minutes we had chances and in extra time we had chances to win it. If it goes down to the penalty shootouts, it’s a lot of uncertainty and we lost it.”
Arsenal are now forced to focus on their fight to end the long wait for a domestic championship crown, while Sporting head into Friday’s draw where they could join Manchester United against another Premier League side.