MX23RW : Wednesday, February 20 16:29:36

Live Commentary: Sporting Lisbon 0-1 Arsenal - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live commentary of the Europa League clash between Sporting Lisbon and Arsenal from Portugal, which finished 1-0 to the visitors.
Live Commentary: Sporting 0-1 Arsenal - as it happened
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Danny Welbeck scored the only goal of the match as Arsenal recorded a 1-0 win over Sporting Lisbon in Thursday's Europa League clash at the Estadio Jose Alvalade.

Welbeck's 77th-minute effort has moved Arsenal onto nine points in Group E, and means that the Gunners have now won their last 11 matches in all competitions.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.

4.56pmAfternoon all! Sports Mole's Europa League coverage continues from Lisbon as Sporting Lisbon welcome Arsenal in Group E. Sporting have won both of their Group E fixtures this season, overcoming Qarabag on home soil before recording a 2-1 win at Vorskla last time out. Arsenal, meanwhile, have also collected six points from their two matches this term, and will enter this game having won their last 10 in all competitions, including their last seven in the Premier League.

4.59pmSomewhat surprisingly, tonight will be the first ever meeting between these two teams. Sporting have faced English opposition on 21 previous occasions, however, recording nine wins in the process. Arsenal, meanwhile, have won four of their previous 10 clashes with Portuguese opposition.

5.02pmThe last time that Sporting faced a Premier League club in a competitive match was back in 2014 against Chelsea. Sporting lost 3-1 in London during the 2014-15 Champions League, and also suffered a 1-0 defeat to the Blues on home soil. Arsenal, meanwhile, last faced Portuguese opposition in the group stage of the 2010-11 Champions League, and the Gunners actually suffered a 2-0 defeat in their away match with Braga. Tonight is a real test for Arsenal, there is no question.

5.05pmRight, without further ado, let me bring you up-to-speed with the all-important team news from Lisbon. Who is in, and who is out for this Europa League clash? Let's have a look...


SPORTING LISBON (4-3-3): Ribeiro; Ristovski, Coates, Andre Pinto, Acuna; Petrovic, Gudelj, Battaglia; Bruno Fernandes, Montero, Nani

ARSENAL (4-2-3-1): Leno; Lichtsteiner, Sokratis, Holding, Xhaka; Guendouzi, Elneny; Ramsey, Mkhitaryan, Welbeck; Aubameyang

5.12pmSo there we have it. There are plenty of familiar faces in the Sporting XI tonight, with former Liverpool defender Sebastian Coates, former Manchester United attacker Nani and classy Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes all included. Fredy Montero will lead the home side's line, while on-loan Guangzhou Evergrande midfielder Nemanja Gudelj is also selected.

5.15pmAs for Arsenal, head coach Unai Emery has made six changes to the team that started against Leicester City on Monday night. Mohamed Elneny, Sokratis, Aaron Ramsey, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Danny Welbeck and Matteo Guendouzi all come in, and Ramsey will wear the captain's armband for the Gunners. It looks like Granit Xhaka will play at left-back tonight.


5.22pmSo there we have it. The two teams are in, and we are now just about 30 minutes from kickoff in Portugal. I shall speak about Arsenal a little bit later, but let's start with Sporting. As mentioned, like Arsenal, Sporting have started their Group E campaign with wins over Qarabag and Vorskla.

5.25pmIndeed, Sporting beat Qarabag 2-0 on home soil on September 20 before winning 2-1 at Vorskla last time out. In truth, both Sporting and Arsenal should book their spot in the next round, and a defeat for the hosts tonight would not be the end of the world. Domestically, Sporting are currently down in fifth spot in the Primeira Liga, four points off division leaders Benfica.

5.28pmSporting will enter this match off the back of a 2-1 win over Loures in the Portuguese Cup at the weekend, but their last league fixture ended in a 4-2 defeat at Portimonense. Arsenal are the favourites tonight, but our next post will show what the Gunners are up against in this game...

5.32pm... indeed, this is a very interesting statistic.

5.35pmAs for Arsenal, the Gunners will enter this match off the back of a 10-game winning run in all competitions. Unai Emery's side started their season with back-to-back league defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea, but have been perfect across three competitions since then.

5.38pmIndeed, the Gunners have won their last seven in the Premier League to move to within two points of the top of the division. As mentioned, they have won both of their matches in this competition, and also progressed in the League Cup with a 3-1 home success over Brentford.

5.42pmRay Parlour is here...

5.45pmArsenal actually fell behind to Leicester in Monday's Premier League clash, but really turned on the style in the second period to secure all three points. Things have clicked for Emery's side in recent weeks, and they will fancy their chances of putting an 11th straight win on the board here.

5.48pmNext up for the Gunners is a trip to Crystal Palace in the Premier League this weekend, before hosting Blackpool in the League Cup next week. Arsenal then host Liverpool, and I suspect that we will find out a lot about the capital outfit following that match at the Emirates Stadium.

5.52pmHere we go then; both sets of players have joined us on the pitch ahead of kickoff in Lisbon. It is Sporting against Arsenal in the group stage of the Europa League. The scene is set, and it should be a very interesting game of football. Stay tuned for live minute-by-minute updates!

0 minKICKOFF:  Arsenal kick things off in Lisbon...

2 min... far from a full house inside the stadium, but there is a good atmosphere, and the surface is also brilliant. Arsenal are enjoying the early possession as they pass and probe here.

4 minSporting have the chance to threaten from the first corner of the match, but Acuna's delivery is disappointing, and the away side manage to clear their lines. Aubameyang's pace looks like it will be a problem for Sporting tonight as the striker continues to run the home side's defence.

6 minNot too much to report in the last few minutes, although Arsenal are controlling the tempo of the match. Sporting are yet to get their skipper Nani into the game. He has previous against Arsenal!

8 minMontero does well to break into the Arsenal box before delivering a low cross, but Sokratis is on hand to make the challenge. Sporting can certainly cause the away side problems tonight.

10 minArsenal continue to dominate the football, but the Gunners are yet to create a chance. It is quite 'nice' at the moment, meaning that there are not exactly late challenges flying everywhere.

12 minBruno Fernandes has fouled Lichtsteiner. That is about it for the last two minutes. To be honest, it is almost like a pre-season game at the moment. The tempo is simply not there.

14 minStill no shots from either side, but Arsenal are playing the better football in the final third, with Welbeck and Ramsey linking well. The Gunners look too strong for the home side here.

16 minSHOT!  Bruno Fernandes curls a shot high and wide of the Arsenal crossbar.

18 minBruno Fernandes again strikes towards the Arsenal goal, but the referee had just blown his whistle for a high foot. It was a very inventive effort from the midfielder though!

21 minMuch better from Sporting in the last few minutes as they enjoy the ball in Arsenal's half of the field. The tempo is still not really there, however, which is a shame. Needs some late tackles!

23 minNani is just starting to see more of the ball for Sporting, but a smart move from the home side ends with the ball going behind for a goal kick. The home fans are in good voice at the moment.

24 minArsenal have a free kick just outside the Sporting box as Coates fells Guendouzi...

24 minSAVE!  Smart save from Ribeiro to keep out the free kick from Mkhitaryan!

25 minBetter from Sporting as Acuna delivers a dangerous cross into the Arsenal box, but Holding has to head behind. Just a few signs that the tempo is rising with 25 minutes on the clock here.

28 minLittle over 15 minutes of the first period remaining, and we are still level. In truth, it has not been the best of games. Just the one shot on target, with Mkhitaryan's free kick being saved by the home side's goalkeeper. Aside from that, Bruno Fernandes has fired one over the home side.

30 minSHOT!  Bruno Fernandes again fires over the Arsenal crossbar from outside the box.

31 minCLOSE!  Nani's long-range attempt just misses the top corner, after some lacklustre defending from Arsenal. Easily the closest that either side has come to scoring in this game.

32 minSokratis is very fortunate to stay on the field after seemingly pulling Montero to the ground. The referee did not even give a free kick, however, which is very surprising indeed.

34 minLittle over 10 minutes of the first period remaining, and we are still goalless here.

36 minMontero breaks away from the Arsenal defence before delivering a low cross into the box, but there are no takers from the home side. Welbeck is then crowded out down the other end.

39 minYELLOW CARD!  Acuna (Sporting) picks up the first yellow card of the match for a late challenge on Lichtsteiner. It was not a pretty challenge from the number nine to be perfectly honest.

41 minThe overall quality has not been great tonight, with Arsenal wasting a number of promising positions. Still goalless as we approach the final stages of the first half in Lisbon.

43 minPossession football from Arsenal as we approach the end of the first period.

45 minWelbeck's attempts to race away from the Sporting defence, but he is more than matched, and the home side can clear their lines. Ristovski appears to be injured now though.

45 minRistovski looks to have pulled his hamstring, which means a change has to be made.

45+1 minSAVE!  Comfortable save for Ribeiro to keep out a strike from Aubameyang.


6.45pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with the two teams level at 0-0. In truth, it has not been the best of first halves. Sporting had the best chance of the match when Nani made the most of a mistake from the Arsenal defence, but his effort whistled just over.

6.50pmSTATISTICS! Arsenal had more of the ball (57%) in the first period, while the Gunners had five attempts, two of which were on target. Sporting also had five attempts, but failed to hit the target. Just the one yellow card to report in the first half - Acuna in the 39th minute of action.

6.55pmBENCH WATCH! Arsenal boss Emery has a number of attacking options on his bench tonight, with Iwobi, Lacazette, Ozil and Torreira all available. Sporting, meanwhile, have the likes of Carlos Mane, Cabral, Luis and Diaby in reserve. Sporting are also going to have to make a change at the interval, with Petrovic picking up a hamstring injury just before the half-time break.

46 minSporting resume the action on home soil...

46 min... SPORTING SUB! Gaspar has replaced the injured Ristovski.

46 minYELLOW CARD!  Holding (Arsenal) is booked for a dangerous challenge on Montero.

48 minCLOSE!  Montero meets a cross from Nani, but his header was always wide.

49 minSAVE!  Smart save from the Sporting goalkeeper to keep out a low Aubameyang attempt.

50 minSAVE!  Another good save from Ribeiro to keep out Aubameyang's lofted effort.

52 minBruno Fernandes delivers a dangerous free kick into the Arsenal box, but Leno comes out with the ball following a period of panic. Still goalless with 52 minutes on the clock here.

54 minLeno has to leave his goal to beat Montero to a through ball as Sporting threaten once again. Just a few signs that this match is opening up, which is good news for the neutral.

54 minCHANCE!  Stunning chance for Arsenal to take the lead as Guendouzi breaks into the Sporting box before delivering a low cross into Welbeck, but somehow his effort is deflected wide!

56 minArsenal are moving through the gears now as they pass and probe in the final third of the field. You do get the feeling that there is a goal coming due to the open nature of the contest.

58 minARSENAL SUB! Torreira replaces Elneny for the away side.

60 minStill goalless with little over 30 minutes of the second period remaining in Lisbon. No movement on the Sporting bench at the moment, but Carlos Mane might be one to come on tonight.

62 minArsenal are having loads of the ball at the moment as they continue to commit players forward. That said, the overall quality from the Gunners has not exactly been brilliant tonight.

64 minSAVE!  Comfortable save for Ribeiro to keep out a strike from Guendouzi.

66 minIt is Sporting's turn to have a spell of pressure, but a cross into the Arsenal box is cleared, before Nani has a shot blocked. Arsenal then break clear, but Ramsey's shot is blocked.

68 minEnd-to-end football in the last few minutes as both teams look for the opening goal.

68 minDISALLOWED GOAL!  Welbeck heads home for the Arsenal, but the goal is disallowed for a push!

71 minYou do get the feeling that there is a goal coming here as Arsenal pass and move. Sporting have a lot of pace on the counter, and might well break clear during this spell of pressure.

71 minYELLOW CARD!  Coates (Sporting) is booked for a foul on Aubameyang.

71 minSPORTING SUB! Cabral replaces Gudelj for the home side here.

72 minSAVE!  Smart save from the Sporting goalkeeper to keep out a free kick from Torreira.


78 minArsenal make the breakthrough as Welbeck races away from the Sporting defence before firing into the bottom corner of the net! Huge goal for the Gunners in this game!

81 minARSENAL SUB! Lacazette replaces Welbeck for the away side.

83 minNot too much in the way of a response from Sporting at the moment, with Arsenal comfortable as they close on what would be an important three points. There is still time for the hosts though.

85 minARSENAL SUB! Iwobi replaces Aubameyang for the away side.

87 minNot too much to report in the way of chances in the last couple of minutes. Sporting are committing players forward, but Leno is currently comfortable between the Arsenal sticks.

89 minMkhitaryan delivers low into the Sporting box, but Coates does well to clear ahead of Aubameyang, who would have fancied his chances of finishing at the near post there.

90+1 minWe are into the first of five additional minutes at the end of the match.

90+3 minNothing much from Sporting, and to be honest, that has been the case all night. The hosts have lacked quality where it matters, and Arsenal have not really been tested in this match.

90+3 minYELLOW CARD!  Cabral (Sporting) is booked for dissent.

90+5 minTime is almost up, and it does appear that Welbeck's goal is going to win this for Arsenal, who are closing on their 11th straight success in all competitions. That is some run of form!

90+5 minYELLOW CARD!  Battaglia (Sporting) is booked for dissent.


7.51pmSo there we have it. Arsenal make it 11 straight wins in all competitions with a 1-0 success away to Sporting, with Welbeck scoring the winner late on. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for our live minute-by-minute coverage of the action. See you soon!

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Aaron Ramsey in action for Arsenal on September 15, 2018
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