The Europa League tie between Sporting and Arsenal is on a knife edge after a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Estadio Jose Alvalade in Lisbon.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta made nine changes to his starting line-up from the weekend’s Premier League win over West Ham, with the likes of Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette all left out of the squad.
The Gunners started the game brightly and took the lead in the 15th minute when Bukayo Saka’s cross was headed home by Gabriel Martinelli.
Sporting responded well and equalised just before half-time when Bruno Fernandes’ free-kick was headed home by Seydou Doumbia.
The hosts then took the lead in the second half when Doumbia scored his second of the night, but Arsenal fought back and equalised through a stunning strike from Joe Willock.
The result leaves the tie finely balanced ahead of the second leg at the Emirates Stadium next week.
Arteta will be pleased with the performance of his much-changed side, who showed great character to come from behind and earn a draw.
Saka was a standout performer for the Gunners, with the 18-year-old winger causing Sporting all sorts of problems with his pace and direct running.
Martinelli also impressed, with the Brazilian forward taking his goal well and showing great energy throughout the game.
For Sporting, Doumbia was the star of the show, with the Ivorian forward scoring twice and causing Arsenal’s defence all sorts of problems.
The second leg promises to be an intriguing affair, with both sides having a chance to progress to the next round.
It will be interesting to see how Arteta sets up his side for the return leg, with the likes of Ozil, Aubameyang and Lacazette all likely to return to the starting line-up.
For now, the tie is on a knife edge and it promises to be an exciting second leg at the Emirates Stadium.