Arsenal Ladies marched into the quarter-finals of the Champions League after a hard-earned 3-2 win over Glasgow City.
Suzanne Lappin put the Scottish champions ahead in just the second minute with a close-range header, before Rachel Yankey leveled 10 minutes later.
Jordan Nobbs ended any chance of a Glasgow comeback midway through the second half with a cool finish inside the box. The home side equalised with 11 minutes remaining through a Rachel Corsie header but Alex Scott fired home the winner in the dying seconds.
Glasgow were much-improved from Saturday’s first leg but Arsenal were always in control and their quality in front of goal proved to be the difference again.
SETTING THE SCENE
Shelley Kerr stuck with the same team that comprehensively beat the Scottish champions at the Hive on Saturday. Glasgow manager Eddie Wolecki Black made four changes to his side as the hosts tried to haul back the three-goal deficit.
Despite their healthy advantage, conditions were well and truly against the Gunners on a cold, blustery night in Scotland. In addition, Kerr’s team had to get used to an artificial surface and with a sell-out crowd roaring the home side on, there was a sense of belief around Petershill Park that the home side could cause an upset.
Arsenal got off to the worst possible start. In the second minute, Lappin found space in the box and bundled a near-post header past Emma Bryne from Jess Fishlock’s corner to give the home side genuine hope of a comeback.
But the visitors quickly found their stride and equalised in the 12th minute when Yankey turned away from Emma Black and drove into the area before lifting her shot past Lee Alexander and into the roof of the net.
Ellen White almost put Arsenal ahead seconds later but could only drive her shot over from the edge of the box.
Glasgow should have regained the lead on 26 minutes when Denise O’Sullivan was through on goal but her low shot was smothered by Byrne.
In the 32nd minute it was Arsenal’s turn to rue a missed chance to go ahead. Little lifted a deft cross towards Gilly Flaherty, who should have done better with a header that she glanced wide.
Four minutes before half-time Sarah Crilly sent in a volley from the edge of the area but Byrne watched it all the way and made a smart save.
It was an even start to the second period with very few openings created as City closed the Gunners down quickly when they were in possession.
In the 56th minute White burst into the area and forced a sprawling save from Alexander. From the resulting corner, Flaherty rose above her marker to head the ball towards the corner but it was cleared off the line.
Arsenal put the tie beyond doubt on 69 minutes. Glasgow’s defence failed to clear their lines before Nobbs latched on to a loose ball and fired a low shot past Alexander and into the bottom corner.
The Gunners were cruising now and came close to scoring a third in the 76th minute when substitutes Gemma Davison and Kelly Smith combined but the latter could only shoot straight at Alexander.
Glasgow’s equaliser came totally out of the blue and Arsenal will have been disappointed with their marking. Fishlock was the provider again with a floated cross that found Corsie in space and she made no mistake with a header from the six-yard box.
But Scott popped up with the winner in stoppage time with a low finish from Little’s cross to seal a 6-2 aggregate victory for the Gunners.
Referee: Pernilla Larsson (SWE)
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