Arsenal fight back to draw 2-2 at Sporting

The Gunners dominated the early stages and took the lead but Sporting soon equalised before going ahead after half-time

Published : 10 March 2023, 08:28 AM
Updated : 10 March 2023, 08:28 AM

Premier League leaders Arsenal did enough to hold Sporting Lisbon to a 2-2 draw in a lively first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie on Thursday.

Gunners manager Mikel Arteta made six changes from the team that started the last-gasp 3-2 win over Bournemouth, giving forward Reiss Nelson his first start since November and a debut to defender Jakub Kiwior.

The visitors dominated the early stages and took the lead in the 22nd minute through William Saliba's close-range header from a corner but Sporting equalised 12 minutes later when unmarked defender Goncalo Inacio headed from a corner.

Inacio’s goal fired up Sporting’s fans and their team responded as they went ahead in the 55th minute when Paulinho stroked in a rebound after goalkeeper Matt Turner saved a point-blank shot from Pedro Goncalves following good work from Marcus Edwards, a former Tottenham Hotspur academy player.

Arsenal fought back to earn a draw, however, after a mistake by Hidemasa Morita, whose attempt to block a Granit Xhaka cross ended up in his own net.

Jose Mourinho's AS Roma beat Spain's Real Sociedad 2-0 thanks to an early goal from a counter-attack by Stephan El Shaarawy and Marash Kumbulla's late header. Sociedad's Mikel Merino had earlier missed a golden opportunity to equalise.

In Germany, Belgian side Royale Union almost shocked Union Berlin, who are third in the Bundesliga and had to fight back to earn a 3-3 draw after going behind three times.

Victor Boniface opened the scoring for the visitors in the 28th minute and Josip Juranovic levelled just before the break.

Yorbe Vertessen put Royale Union back in front in the 58th minute, Robin Knoche equalised the game 11 minutes later from a rebound off his own poor penalty.

Boniface scored again three minutes later but Sven Michel took advantage of a lost ball inside the box to rescue a late draw for Union Berlin.

Also in Germany, Bayer Leverkusen beat Hungary's Ferencvaros 2-0 thanks to goals from Kerem Demirbay and Edmond Tapsoba.