Mikel Arteta, Head Coach of Arsenal celebrates after the penalty shootout during the UEFA Champions League 2023/24 round of 16 second leg match between Arsenal FC and FC Porto at Emirates Stadium on March 12, 2024 in London, England.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.
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Arteta celebrates ‘magic’ night for Arsenal

Mikel Arteta has celebrated a ‘magic’ night for Arsenal after the Gunners beat Porto on penalties to reach the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2010.

Arsenal required a shootout to reach the last eight of the Champions League, with a narrow 1-0 win on the night wiping out Porto’s slender advantage from the first leg at The Estádio do Dragão.

Leandro Trossard scored Arsenal’s goal, though the north Londoners were unable to find a second with penalties taken to decide the tie. David Raya made saves from Wendell and Galeno to send the Gunners through.

 

“Magic, what we expected, a really tough opponent, really well organised, very difficult to generate constant momentum in the game in the way they play and that’s credit to them,” Arteta said in his post-match press conference.

“We did it, we scored a beautiful goal, they insisted in different ways, in the way the game allowed as well, and it’s such a huge experience for us. We had to do it at the end with the penalties, we prepared well, and credit to the coaches as well for the way they did it and obviously for David [Raya].

“He had some difficult moments to start but he stood up, had an incredible personality and ambition, and at the end he got rewarded with his moment.

“I don’t have to see him today, I was very convinced that was going to be the case,” Arteta added on Raya’s performance.

“You see in the first few days here and what he had to go through and how he did it with that composure. You look at his body language, and the position that he takes, he doesn’t get very affected and that’s a key quality for a goalkeeper.”

Arsenal had suffered seven straight eliminations in the last 16 and Arteta praised his team for breaking that run of results to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in 14 years.

 

“For them to do it when the club hasn’t managed to do it for 14 years, it tells you the difficulty of it. When the margins are so small, we found a way to do it again. I see how much they want it, and how much they try, they are able to sacrifice anything to win and when you play like this at the end it’s going to come your way sooner or later and it happened tonight.”

Arteta also saluted the atmosphere inside the Emirates, admitting he had not experienced such support from the home crowd in his time as Arsenal manager.

“Probably not, it was amazing – from the start to the end. When they have to do that extra at the end with the penalties, apart from bringing that, they were so smart in the way they did it, and the way they helped us. A huge thank you because with them we are much better and I think today they have impacted the game in a really strong way.

Read – Champions League win ‘means everything’ to Arsenal hero David Raya

See more – Saka toasts ‘beautiful’ night for Arsenal following penalty success

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