Europa League: Arsenal and Sporting CP Draw in First Leg
Arsenal and Sporting CP played out a 2-2 draw in their Europa League last-16 first leg encounter.
William Saliba gave Arsenal the lead with a 22nd-minute header from Fábio Vieira’s corner, before Gonçalo Inácio equalised for Sporting with another header from a corner twelve minutes later.
Sporting took the lead ten minutes after the restart through Paulinho but Hidemasa Morita scored an own goal to bring the Gunners level.
Gabriel Martinelli’s sublime solo effort was almost a winner for Arsenal, but the match ended in a draw.
Despite being lucky with the equaliser, Arsenal will be exposed to their own fans for the second leg and they should be confident of progressing to the quarter-finals.
Arsenal made six changes from their standard lineup partly due to illness while Jakub Kiwior made his debut for the club.
Vieira, who earned the assist, was unable to dictate play with the same authority for the club like Martin Odegaard.
However, the 22-year-old, who made his 12th start, showed signs of encouragement.
Arsenal have been vulnerable in recent weeks from set-pieces, conceding six goals from dead-ball situations.
The second leg will take place on Thursday, March 16.