Soccer-Lack of Champions League experience cost Arsenal, says Arteta

  • Football
  • Thursday, 22 Feb 2024

Soccer Football - Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - FC Porto v Arsenal - Estadio do Dragao, Porto, Portugal - February 21, 2024 Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta reacts REUTERS/Pedro Nunes/ File Photo

(Reuters) - A lack of experience in Europe's top club competition was a factor in Arsenal conceding a late goal in their Champions League game at Porto on Wednesday but manager Mikel Arteta said the north London side will learn from the 1-0 defeat.

Arsenal failed to get a shot on target all night despite having the majority of possession in the first leg of the round of 16 tie, with Galeno's 94th-minute winner condemning them to defeat.

Wednesday's match at the Estadio Do Dragao was Arsenal's first Champions League knockout game under Arteta and came six seasons after they last competed in Europe's top-tier competition in 2016-17.

"We really dominated the game but we lacked purpose, especially in the first half, to have much more aggression, to break lines, to play forward, to generate much more threat in their backline," Arteta told reporters.

"In the second half there were much better things and we generated a lot of situations without really creating much from it, but we'll learn from it."

When asked if Arsenal's lack of Champions League experience could have been a factor in conceding the late goal, Arteta said: "It's only the last ball.

"If in 94 minutes we didn't have the naivety in that one, I think it's a bit cruel to judge it but it's true that it's had a big impact on the result.

"A lot of other things that they've done for the first time here, it was very good."

Arsenal next host Newcastle United in the Premier League on Saturday. They face Porto in the second leg on March 12 at the Emirates.

(Reporting by Shifa Jahan in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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