Portsmouth 2-1 Arsenal: Freddie Ljungberg's U21 bow out of Checkatrade Trophy as Laurent Koscielny hobbles off
PUBLISHED: 22:16 04 December 2018 | UPDATED: 22:24 04 December 2018
Arsenal U21 lost 2-1 to Portsmouth at Fratton Park in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday evening. Read on for Rosie Tudball's match report.
A late goal from Andre Green cancelled out a stunning effort from Bukayo Saka, who equalised for the Gunners after Brett Pitman’s opener as the Gunners bowed out of the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday evening at Fratton Park,
In front of a crowd of 3,109 including 188 Arsenal supporters, the North London youngsters saw their their trip overshadowed not just by defeat, but the sad sight of newly returning Laurent Koscielny, hobble off the pitch in the second half.
The visitors looked unsettled from the kick off, which Portsmouth took advantage of early on.
Arsenal defender Danny Ballard was forced to save the visitors after ten minutes, as Anton Walkes went agonisingly close to scoring. Ballard reacted superbly to clear the ball from the line to save Arsenal early embarrassment.
Portsmouth’s early chance didn’t seem to trigger alarm bells for Freddie Ljungberg’s team as the hosts continued to apply the pressure.
Brett Pitman dealt the visitors a blow as their luck ran out from a Portsmouth corner. After some confusion in the box and the failure to clear a knockdown, Pitman bundled the ball into the goal in a scrappy fashion.
Arsenal struggled to find their feet in the first half, even after conceding as the hosts continued to terrorise the Gunners’ back three.
Contrastingly, Portsmouth were powered by a new-found confidence.
Aldershot Town loanee, Adam May hit the post, with pace and power behind the ball, his effort brushed the leg of Osei-Tutu which directed it against the post.
It as a massive let off for Arsenal, who were lucky to go into the break only one goal down.
In the 66th minute of play, Arsenal finally came to life as Saka equalised completely against the run of play. The midfielder beat several Portsmouth players on the edge of the box, before finding a gap to curl a mesmerising shot well beyond the reach of McGee into the top right of the goal.
Arsenal continually failed to deal with Portsmouth’s attack, with chances from Pitman and Dennis giving the visitors a fright in the second half.
Ljungberg’s side were punished late on by Andre Green, who gave his side back the lead in the 83rd minute. Some good movement on the flank by Dennis allowed him to progress into space and drill a perfect ball onto the head of Green, who buried his effort.
It was a disappointing night for the Arsenal U21’s, and too for Koscielny who we hope won’t face another setback.