Arsenal’s hopes for a European title ended when the Premier League leader was eliminated from the Europa League 2023 by Sporting Lisbon on Thursday (March 16) in a penalty shootout. Lisbon reached the quarterfinals by prevailing 5-3 in the shootout at the Emirates Stadium after a 1-1 draw in regulation in the second leg of their round-of-16 encounter. The first leg ended 2-2.
Gabriel Martinelli failed to convert from the spot for Arsenal. “It’s a huge blow,” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta told BT Sport. “There were moments, especially during the first 75 minutes, when we weren’t at our level and gave every ball away.”
Meanwhile, Manchester United cruised into the quarterfinals after a 1-0 victory at Real Betis. Arsenal dominated the extra time with playmaker Martin Ødegaard coming on as a substitute but Sporting goalkeeper Antonia Adán made some stunning saves to force the shootout.
Manuel Ugarte was sent off two minutes before the end of extra time after picking his second yellow card. Granit Xhaka gave Arsenal a first-half lead on a rebound to complete a flowing move by the hosts. Martinelli had his effort on goal blocked by Adán but the ball came into Xhaka’s path for the Arsenal captain to curl it into the net from inside the area. Pedro Gonçalves leveled the score on the hour to spark the visitors’ attack and force extra time.
Manchester United Advances
In Seville, Marcus Rashford produced a clinical finish in the 56th minute, finding the bottom corner of the net with a low drive from outside the area to help United advance on a 5-1 aggregate score in the second-tier European competition.
Rashford’s 27th goal of the season came after the striker wasted several decent chances to put the visitors ahead at the Benito Villamarin stadium in Seville. “Betis are a really good team, we saw that against Real Madrid and Barcelona, but we beat them twice so I think we performed really well,” manager Erik ten Hag told BT Sport. “Second half, we were much better on the ball, keeping it in their half and then you create chances.”
United won 4-1 in the first leg at Old Trafford last week. Following a 0-0 draw against Southampton in the Premier League on Sunday, Ten Hag made four changes in his starting lineup with right winger Facundo Pellistri getting his first start for the club.
United won the Europa League in 2017.