Mikel Arteta, Head Coach of Arsenal celebrates with David Raya 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 and David Raya.
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Champions League win ‘means everything’ to Arsenal hero David Raya

David Raya pulled off a superb save as Arsenal bested Porto in a penalty shootout to seal their first win over two legs in the Champions League knockout stages for 14 years. 

The Gunners were a goal down from the first leg, but Martin Odegaard set up Leandro Trossard to put the hosts on level terms at the Emirates on Tuesday night.

Arsenal thought they had put the ball in the net again in the second half, but the Norwegian’s finish was called back for a foul by Kai Havertz on Pepe.

 

The two sides couldn’t be separated after 120 minutes of action and stoppages as the game went to a penalty shootout.

Raya made the decisive stop when Galeno stepped up for Porto’s fourth spot kick, diving correctly to his left to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2010.

“Obviously it’s a great feeling for me personally, first time in the Champions League and for the club to get into the quarter-finals for the first time in so many years,” Raya told TNT Sports.

“We played a really good game from the start. We dominated, created chances and it went down to penalties. We’ve worked a lot on penalties this year and all the hard work with the goalie coach and the team has paid off.

“A great moment personally and collectively. I’m over the moon to save two penalties in the Champions League to get through to the quarter-finals. They made it so difficult over there, they played their game, but we scored the goal we needed and it went down to penalties and it was a crazy moment.

“Apart from physically from the boys, mentally it’s difficult, but especially for me to be focused every second, you can’t switch off.

“This means everything. You play football for these kind of things and I’m lucky to be playing for Arsenal, to be in the Champions League and to get through to the quarter-finals. We’re just going to enjoy the night.”

David Raya is the first goalkeeper to make at least two saves in a Champions League shootout since Petr Cech (two) for Chelsea against Bayern Munich in the 2012 final.

Read – Mikel Arteta comments on title race with Arsenal on top

See Also – Assessing the run-in for the Premier League title race

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