By Tom Bennett at the Valhalla Stadium
Arsenal Ladies are through to the semi-finals of the Women's Champions League despite a 1-0 defeat in Gothenburg.
A game in which Arsenal were largely comfortable came to a fraught conclusion when Jane Tornqvist put the hosts in front with only injury time remaining. But Laura Harvey’s side saw the tie out to book their place in the final four against Frankfurt in April.
Gothenburg’s late winner followed an even contest in which the Gunners produced a committed and disciplined showing in the near-full Valhalla Stadium.
Despite the absence of goals from the 90 minutes of regular time, the visitors played their part in a lively encounter.
Arsenal were on the attack within a minute of kick-off when Alex Scott found space on the right to clip a ball into the middle for Kim Little, whose lobbed shot was deflected wide. Captain Jayne Ludlow came close from the resulting corner, heading past the far post.
A quiet opening spell followed, with both sides feeling their way into the game. But a low drive from Danielle Carter, just wide of Kristin Hammarstrom’s near post, sparked the game into action midway through the first period.
Three minutes later Sara Linden responded for the hosts, cracking a long-range effort against the crossbar. A superb save from Emma Byrne from the loose ball was then required to keep scores level, with the Republic of Ireland No 1 flinging out a leg to divert a close-range effort from Christen Press over the bar.
Press threatened again two minutes later, cutting in from the right flank to find herself one on one with Byrne. Again her composure deserted her and she sidefooted wide of goal.
Arsenal enjoyed opportunities of their own, with both Ellen White and Carter almost latching onto low balls inside the area. But a combination of last-ditch interceptions and wayward finishing ensured Harvey's side were unable to extend their first-leg advantage before the break.
Gothenburg were straight out of the blocks after the restart. And, but for a tame sidefooted effort from Press, could have been ahead inside three minutes. Arsenal weathered the early pressure, however, and regained their composure to see out the next 40 minutes in relative calm.
Indeed, the Gunners dominated large swathes of the second period and with half an hour remaining, the visitors almost took a decisive lead. Carter showed neat footwork 20 yards from goal before releasing Kim Little behind the Gothenburg back line, only for the Scottish forward to sweep her shot narrowly wide.
Sensing a chance to kill off the tie, Arsenal streamed forward again. White was inches from reaching a low centre, before Carter saw her strike from inside the box well blocked.
Moments later, Steph Houghton connected with a lofted ball at the back post, only to see her effort scrambled off the line by goalkeeper Hammarstrom.
Rachel Yankey came close five minutes from time with the visitors' best effort of the game, cracking the crossbar with a free-kick on the edge of the box.
Arsenal were unable to land the killer blow, however, and with minutes remaining, conceded the only goal of the night when Tornqvist latched onto a loose ball to poke home from the edge of the box.
But it mattered little as Harvey's side saw out the rest of the tie to book their place in the semi-finals.
- Ludlow (C)
- Carter 71
- White 89
- Yankey 71
- Nobbs 89
- Kristin Hammarstrom Yellow Card
- Ingrid Wells 70
- Asante 80
- Anna Ahlstrad
- Jane Tornqvist Goal!
- Sara Linden
- Lisa Ek (C)
- Stina Segerstrom Yellow Card
- Marlene Sjoberg 84
- Christen Press
- Catrine Johansson
- Louis Hogrell
- Mimi Lofwenius 84
- Linnea Liljegard 70
- Olivia Schough 80
- Amanda Edgren
- Beata Kollmats