The Roar
The Roar


What the UCL?!: Raya light sees Arsenal seal 'huge win' amid keeper controversy, Lewa fires Barca through

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
12th March, 2024

Arsenal are into the quarter finals of the Champions League after a heroic showing from goalkeeper David Raya delivered them a penalty shootout win over FC Porto.

The keeper saved two of four penalties – including a stunning effort to deny Wendell – while all of the Gunners’ takers scored, sending the London club into the final eight for the first time in 14 years.

Manager Mikel Arteta’s choice of keepers has been discussed at length all year, with previous fan favourite Aaron Ramsdale dropped for Raya, but he could not have been more vindicated than today, with the Spaniard the star.

Notably, as the Arsenal players celebrated, Ramsdale was front and centre with his teammate offering congratulations.

Watch every match of the UEFA Champions League exclusive & ad-free, live & on demand on Stan Sport.

“For a young goalkeeper, because of the controversy about the way he took the place, to endear him into the hearts of those supporters (it’s huge),” said Mark Bosnich on Stan Sports.

Porto went into the match with a one goal lead thanks to Galeno’s late winner out in Portugal, and set up accordingly, challenging the hosts to break them down.


Though Leandro Trossard did level the tie in the first half, Arsenal could not add to their tally and instead found themselves facing a shootout at the Emirates against Portuguese opposition for the second year running, having exited the UEFA Europa League to Sporting Lisbon in the same manner 12 months ago.

Now, the club are primed to fight on two fronts going forward: though they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Liverpool, that gives them this coming weekend off and they won’t play again until a mammoth clash with Manchester City on April 1.

“From Arsenal’s perspective, the slide began last year after they got knocked out on penalties by another Portuguese side in Sporting, this will really give them some impetus going forward,” said Bozza.

“They’ve got a weekend off and then another weekend off with the international break before they come back. This is a huge win.”

The Gunners struggled to break down a well-organised Porto defence that offered them nothing in the first leg, but built pressure well and eventually got their breakthrough when Trossard was put into space by the dancing feet of Martin Ødegaard. He made no mistake from a tight angle.

Porto, however, knew that going deep was their best option and stuck to their task accordingly.


Marshalled superbly by 41-year-old Pepe at centre half, they smothered the best that Arsenal could throw at them, and while that limited them to potshots at the other end, it also led to Arsenal frustration.

The niggle, too, was there throughout and further contributed to a slower match that suited the visitors.

Ødegaard always seemed most likely to open the door, but a VAR check for a penalty aside, he was kept at bay. In extra time, even less occurred with Porto keeper Diego Costa untroubled.

“Porto worked tremendously hard tonight and did well to hold this Arsenal side at bay,” said Theo Walcott on the BBC coverage.

“They have done their homework and this is exactly what they wanted. They wanted to get to penalties.

“You have to give so much credit to Porto, they have frustrated Arsenal tonight but those key moments, David Raya tonight, he is the hero. He made two fantastic saves.


“The first person to get over to congratulate him was Aaron Ramsdale. It just shows the togetherness in this team, a culture Mikel Arteta has created.”

In the other match, Barcelona overcame a spirited Napoli side 3-1, taking a 4-2 aggregate win that keeps their season alive.

With the tie delicately poised after a 1-1 draw in Naples, the blaugrana took the iniative through two quickfire goals from Fermin Lopez and Joao Cancelo.

Amir Rrahmani did bring the Italians back into it, setting up a belter of a second half, but after a host of chances at both ends, Robert Lewandowski sealed the deal for the Catalans with an 83rd minute winner to send his side through to the quarters.