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Doubts raised about David Raya's involvement in Porto's decisive goal against Arsenal

Posted : 22 February 2024

In the UEFA Champions League last-16 first leg, Galeno's late goal secured a 1-0 lead for Porto against Arsenal, setting the stage for an intriguing second leg. The pivotal moment raised questions about the positioning of Arsenal's goalkeeper, David Raya, during the decisive play. 

TNT Sports analysts Martin Keown and Michael Owen offered contrasting perspectives on Raya's role in the goal. Keown suggested that Raya might have been more effective with a slightly deeper positioning, giving him a better chance to save the shot. On the other hand, Owen focused on the need for improved footwork and positioning, emphasizing that shuffling across the goal could have provided Raya with a better opportunity to make a save.

Reflecting on the late goal, Martin Keown acknowledged a learning curve for Arsenal, pointing out potential areas of improvement. He mentioned the possibility of Raya positioning himself a yard further back to enhance his chances of stopping the shot. However, Keown also recognized the exceptional performance of Declan Rice, albeit noting a potential lapse in pressing during the critical moment.

Michael Owen echoed the scrutiny of Raya's positioning but disagreed with Keown's suggestion, emphasizing the importance of lateral movement. Owen highlighted the slow pace of the ball, suggesting that Raya could have taken one or two strides before making a more effective dive. While Owen didn't view it as a major error, he acknowledged the consideration of whether Raya could have performed better.

Despite Arsenal's possession dominance throughout the match, they failed to register a single shot on target, marking a rare occurrence in their Champions League history. The last time Arsenal faced such a situation was in 2011 against Barcelona. William Saliba and Kai Havertz had the closest attempts for Arsenal, both heading wide from corners. Galeno, aside from scoring the decisive goal, had another significant chance, hitting the post and missing the rebound.

The second leg between Porto and Arsenal is scheduled for March 12 at the Emirates Stadium, where both teams will aim to secure advancement to the next stage of the competition.


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