We secured three vital points in the Women’s Champions League group stage on Wednesday night as we beat HB Koge 5-1 in Denmark.
Steph Catley opened her Arsenal account on her 21st appearance with a stunning free-kick, while Simone Boye enjoyed a dream return to her homeland, completing her first 90 minutes for the club.
Lining up in a 5-4-1 formation, the Danish champions approached the game as we expected, sitting deep in their own half with a compact midfield and the hope of hurting us in transition.
But we maintained our composure and after dominating play with over 80 per cent possession, Nikita Parris was fouled inside the area and the referee pointed to the spot.
Our No 14 stepped up but despite firing a powerful effort toward the bottom left corner, Kaylan Marckese produced an outstanding save to keep the score level.
We didn’t have to wait much longer for our first of the evening, though, as Catley stood over a free-kick on the edge of the area and found the back of the net via the crossbar. What a way to score your first goal in Arsenal colours.
The hosts continued to work hard into the second half, but shortly after the hour mark, Parris showed character to bounce back from her earlier error, reacting first inside the penalty area to double our advantage with an instinctive finish.
Caitlin Foord then went on to make it three with a controlled header after Jordan Nobbs struck the crossbar.
Koge eventually pulled one back through Maddie Pokorny, who pounced on a defensive error to fire past Manuela Zinsberger, but soon after Anna Patten restored our three-goal advantage, curling a fine effort into the top corner.
It was a controlled performance from start to finish - and late on Nobbs made it five, making one of her trademark runs into the penalty area to convert Beth Mead’s cutback.
WHAT IT MEANS
Next up in the Champions League we will host HB Koge on Wednesday, November 17.
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