Champions League, Porto-Arsenal 1-0: goal from Galen

Al Do Dragao ends 1-0 in full injury time with a great right-foot shot from the Brazilian who revives a blocked match, with few ideas and very few emotions. English possession of the ball bore no fruit

From our correspondent Davide Chinellato


– London

A magic. As unexpected as it was devastating, when the match seemed destined for an inevitable 0-0. Instead, Galeno invented a right-footed shot in the 94th minute that gave Porto a 1-0 win over Arsenal in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16. The Gunners remain favorites in the return match at the Emirates on 12 March, but start lower. Also because the show team that won the last 5 games in the Premier League, scoring 21 goals, remained in London. The team that showed up in Porto controlled the game but attacked in such a confusing way that they didn’t produce a single shot on goal. The Gunners also faced the Portuguese in their last time beyond the Champions League round of 16, in 2010: they lost the first leg 2-1 and dominated the second leg 5-0. History is the only consolation for a poor evening for Arteta’s team, one in which the attentive defense of Sergio Conceiçao’s team prevailed thanks to some magic.

the keys

Galeno had the best chance of the match until the decisive goal, a post in the 21st minute followed by a rebound that went dramatically wide. He made up for it with the magic that made the difference, the one that deludes the Conceiçao team that achieving the feat even on the return leg is possible. Why Arsenal at Do Dragao didn’t work. Starting with the double number 10, a fundamental tactical variant in Arsenal’s latest scoring explosion. Trossard and Havertz, who often exchange positions, never manage to light up, like the arrows on the outside Saka and Martinelli, who never find a way to break through. Arsenal’s formation is so fluid that Odegaard splits his time between supporting Rice in the build-up phase and pressing in attack, with White alternating between right-back and centre-half. Everything works very poorly and poorly, unlike what happened in the last 5 Premier League matches, with goals galore. Perhaps Arteta was right in underlining how his team has no experience in the Champions League and that on the European stage, when that little tune plays which for many players represents a dream come true, things change quickly. With the 40-year-old Pepe leading the defense and Varela giant in front of the central defenders (like Rice on the other side), Conceiçao’s team never faltered, with goalkeeper Diogo Costa more committed to managing the scrum in front of him on corner kicks which to neutralize opposing opportunities. Until Galeano’s goal which made the difference.

the match

The only real flash of a sleepy first half, controlled by Arsenal without producing a shot on goal, is an incredible double chance for Galeno in the 21st minute: the first shot is on the post, the second the Brazilian winger sends sensationally out. The second half begins without goals or substitutions and the script remains the same: the Gunners control the game but create nothing. Before half an hour of the second half, Arteta tried to restore order to his men by introducing Jorginho for the defunct Trossard, but the situation did not change. At least until the 94th minute, when Galen turns on the light bulb and finds the magic that gives Porto the triumph.