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RAYA LIGHT Arsenal 1 Porto 0 (agg 1-1, 4-2 on pens)

David Raya

THEY had waited 14 long, wilderness years for a night like this.

For a Champions League knock-out victory.

Arsenal
Porto

For a return to the land of the giants and the super-rich, alongside Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich and the rest.

And on a slow-burning, high-stakes night of suffocating tension, as the big hand on the Clock End headed towards 11pm, their wish was finally granted.

When David Raya saved spot-kicks from the Porto duo of Wendell and Galeno, Mikel Arteta’s men were transported into dreamland.

Remarkably, this was the first penalty shoot-out in any Champions League tie for eight years – and Raya was the undoubted hero.

arsenal

This was not the Arsenal side which has freewheeled and cavorted its way through so many Premier League games.

Leandro Trd’s first-half strike cancelled out Porto’s first-leg lead but the visitors showed nous and muscle and heart to take it the distance.

Then Raya turned Wendell’s effort on to the post and thwarted Galeno’s strike with an athletic dive and the deal was sealed.

Before kick-off, there was pomp and circumstance, pyros and flags, anthems and anticipation.ossar

It was a night for ghostbusting, a night to exorcise the long dog days of Arsene Wenger’s latter years, when the Arsenal would reach this stage of the Champions League and regularly have their backsides spanked, usually by Bayern Munich.

They are arguably the grandest club in Europe never to have been crowned European champions and while the Premier League’s gripping three-horse race must be a priority for Arteta, this was a new frontier.