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Match Report

Sporting Lisbon 2-2 Arsenal: How it happened

Arsenal was last night hosted by Sporting Lisbon in Portugal and the gunners were held to a 2-2 draw in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League round of 16.

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( Arsenal team photo / Photo via Getty )

Arsenal and Sporting Lisbon played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in the first leg of their Europa League round of 16 tie at the Estadio Jose Alvalade. The Gunners started the game brightly and took the lead in the 22nd minute through William Saliba’s header from a corner taken by Emile Smith Rowe.

Sporting responded well to going behind and started to press higher up the pitch. Their efforts were rewarded in the 34th minute when Tiago Inacio rose highest to head home from a corner, taking advantage of some poor marking by Arsenal’s defenders.

The game became more open as both teams looked for a second goal before half-time. Sporting goalkeeper Antonio Adan made a good save to deny Bukayo Saka, while at the other end, Alex Turner kept out Paulinho’s header.

The second half began with Arsenal on top, creating several chances but failing to convert them into goals. Against the run of play, Sporting took the lead in the 57th minute when Paulinho pounced on a loose ball after Turner had parried away Nuno Santos’ shot.

However, Arsenal responded quickly and equalized just four minutes later when Shoya Morita turned Granit Xhaka’s pass into his own net. The Gunners continued to push for a winner but were unable to find one as Sporting defended resolutely.

The draw means that both teams head into next week’s second leg at Emirates Stadium level at 2-2. Arsenal will be disappointed not to have won after dominating large parts of the game, but they will take heart from their performance and look to finish off the tie in front of their home fans.

Mikel Arteta will be pleased with his team’s attacking play, which was much improved compared to recent weeks. However, he will be concerned about their defensive frailties, which were exposed once again by Sporting’s set-piece goal.

Overall, it was an entertaining game between two evenly matched sides who both showed plenty of attacking intent. The second leg promises to be just as exciting as both teams look to book their place in the quarter-finals of Europe’s second-tier competition.

Hello there, Am Mumbere Ausbel from Uganda and I am a writer at Arsenal True Fans and I love watching football matches so much because it's my favourite sport. I am an optimistic person who usually likes to look at the good side of everything.

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