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Galeno goal a ‘kick in the teeth’ as Arsenal lose at Porto

Declan Rice admitted Galeno’s goal for Porto was a ‘kick in the teeth’ as Arsenal crashed to a late defeat in the Champions League.

Arsenal must overturn a first-leg defeat in the return of their last-16 tie after Porto scored a 94th-minute winner at The Estádio do Dragão. Despite dominating the ball, Arsenal were unable to find a breakthrough and lacked threat in the final third, failing to register a shot on target in Portugal.

Porto defended well throughout and snatched the win with virtually the last kick of the game, as Galeno cut inside to bend a finish into the far corner for his fifth goal of the Champions League season. Gabriel Martinelli had squandered possession in the build-up as he attempted to launch Arsenal on the counter-attack and was punished as Galeno’s goal sent the home fans wild.

 

“When it’s 0-0, you look up at the clock and it’s 93 minutes gone, if you aren’t going to win the game then don’t lose it,” Rice reflected to TNT Sports.

“Maybe have the bit of savviness about us to stay in and get a draw in a tough stadium against a tough opponent. A lot to play for in the second leg.

“There were a couple of giveaways on the edge of our box. They caught us on the counter and he’s stuck one in the top corner which is really disappointing. We’re really positive as a group, we’ve had such a good start to 2024 that we’re not going to let this get us down. We’ll address this game.”

Arsenal have been in free-scoring form in the Premier League in recent weeks, netting 11 times in their last two league fixtures. However, the Gunners looked short of their best in the final third at Porto and Rice praised the Portuguese side for their ‘hard working’ approach.

 

“They know what they’re doing. Porto are a really honest, hard working side with great players. We have to change our approach in the home leg and give it absolutely everything. Even though we’re a goal down it’s a nice goal to aim for when we can change it around in the home leg.

“I think it’s about keeping our heads. It’s hard to concede that leg. Knowing how we play at home, with our fans and energy, I think you’ll see a team on the front foot from the start and we’ll be looking to do that.”

On what lessons Arsenal can learn from the loss, Rice said: “You don’t know what to expect, you can’t overlook anyone ever because it’s the Champions League.

 

“It’s a real kick in the teeth because we’ve conceded late but we know what to do. We’re not going to let our heads drop, it’s about getting back, recovering, going again in the Premier League, and we’ll be ready again for the Champions League for sure.”

Read – Arteta critical of Arsenal’s lack of aggression in Porto defeat

See more – Remembering Arsenal’s seven straight Champions League last-16 exits

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