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Odegaard Urges Arsenal To ‘Grow Off’ Champions League Shootout Win

Mikel Arteta's Gunners ended a 14-year wait to reach the last eight of Europe's premier club competition on Tuesday after David Raya saved two spot-kicks to seal progression following a 1-1 aggregate draw at the Emirates.


(From L) Arsenal’s Spanish goalkeeper #22 David Raya, Arsenal’s Norwegian midfielder #08 Martin Odegaard, Arsenal’s English midfielder #07 Bukayo Saka, Arsenal’s English defender #04 Ben White and Arsenal’s English midfielder #41 Declan Rice celebrate after winning the penalty shoot-out session of the UEFA Champions League last 16 second leg football match between Arsenal and Porto FC at the Arsenal Stadium in north London, on March 12, 2024. – Arsenal edged out Porto on penalties to reach the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2010. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

 

Martin Odegaard has urged Arsenal to use their dramatic penalty shootout win over Porto as fuel as they chase a Champions League and Premier League double.

Mikel Arteta’s Gunners ended a 14-year wait to reach the last eight of Europe’s premier club competition on Tuesday after David Raya saved two spot-kicks to seal progression following a 1-1 aggregate draw at the Emirates.

Leandro Trossard’s first-half strike drew Arsenal level in the last-16 tie, but the two sides could not be separated until Raya took centre stage, with all four of the hosts’ penalty takers finding the back of the net.

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Arsenal had exited at the first knockout stage for seven consecutive years under former manager Arsene Wenger and until this season, had not featured in the competition since 2016/17.

“I think it is a massive boost for everyone,” said Arsenal captain Odegaard, whose team are top of the Premier League, level on points with Liverpool and one ahead of Manchester City.

“The way we did it also, it maybe wasn’t the best game, but you just saw everyone pushing so hard, digging so deep.

“I think you saw the mentality in the team when we stepped up for the penalties. I am really proud of everyone.

“We have to use this, we have to grow off this. It is a massive night for everyone. We are still a young squad, but this was another big experience for everyone.”

Odegaard, who converted the first penalty of the shootout, said Arsenal could not fear facing teams such as Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-finals.

“That’s where we want to be,” said the Norway international. “We want to be on the biggest stage. We want to play the biggest games and fight for the biggest trophies.

“When I came here I believed in the project, in the club, what they were doing, everything around the club, I believed in it — and now we are here doing well.

“We just have to keep pushing each other and make sure we get a little bit better every day. We will see where it takes us.”

AFP