HomePremier LeagueArsenal hero Raya revels in shoot-out win

Arsenal hero Raya revels in shoot-out win


Goalkeeper David Raya says his decisive role in Arsenal reaching the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in 14 years is “one of the biggest moments” in his career.

Brentford loanee Raya, whose selection ahead of England international Aaron Ramsdale as Arsenal’s first-choice goalkeeper has caused debate this season, made crucial saves from Wendell and Galeno as the Gunners won their round of 16 shootout against Porto at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old also denied Evanilson and Francisco Conceicao during normal time, meaning Leandro Trossard’s goal in Arsenal’s 1-0 home win in the second leg took the tie to penalties after a 1-1 draw on aggregate.

“It’s an incredible feeling after everything we’ve done,” Raya told Arsenal’s official website. “We weren’t happy with the result over there and we scored the goal we needed to have the chance.

“We could have scored a few more but credit to Porto as well, they played a really good game. They made things very difficult for us but, in the end, it went down to penalties and the players did their part, scored [our penalties] and I was lucky enough to save two.

“It’s one of the biggest moments in my career, my whole career. I put it up there and hopefully there are many more to come here.”

Former Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper Raya helped the Bees win promotion to the Premier League via the Championship play-offs in 2020/21, proving himself in the top flight before joining Arsenal on a season-long loan for 2023/24.

The league leaders paid £3 million for the deal and have the option to buy the Spain international for £27m, with the wild celebrations caused by his agile heroics against Porto likely to make a permanent move for his services popular among supporters.

“The fans have been fantastic for a long time,” said Raya. “Especially today, they made some noise and got us through spells in which we needed them. They were there for us and we were there for them.”

Captain Martin Odegaard won the coin toss to decide which end Arsenal would shoot towards for the penalties following a quiet 30 minutes of extra time between teams who looked drained by a gruelling contest.

“We had the fans behind our goal as well and that put a lot of pressure on them and that worked for us,” said Raya. “That helped us to win the penalty shootout.

“[The win] is going to give us a big push and give us some experience and some learnings. We need to learn a lot of things; we managed the game very well, which we didn’t do over there.

“We’ll learn from that and take the positives and learn from the negatives as well.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.


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