The Gunners put on a huge display of determination to come back from 2-0 down to draw the opening leg of the UEFA Women’s Champions League semi-final with VfL Wolfsburg.
Goals from Rafaelle and Stina Blackstenius completed our comeback away from home to set us up promisingly for the deciding leg at Emirates Stadium. Tickets are still available for that fixture so come and join over 45,000 supporters on Bank Holiday Monday.
Our first UEFA Women’s Champions League semi-final in a decade took place in front of over 22,000 supporters at Wolfsburg's Volkswagen Arena.
Jonas Eidevall reverted to a back three for the occasion, with Jen Beattie returning to the starting lineup almost ten years to the day since she featured in a UWCL semi-final against Wolfsburg.
Neither side managed to register a shot in a cagey opening fifteen minutes but when they did, it was deadly. Sveindis Jonsdottir received a cross-field pass and set up Ewa Pajor, who stroked the ball into the bottom left corner in the 19th minute.
An unforced defensive error made it 2-0 to the hosts shortly after, as Rafaelle misplaced a pass to Jen Beattie across the face of goal and Jonsdottir was there to pounce.
Frida Maanum came close minutes before half-time, blasting a shot at Merle Frohms from close range that was pushed away for a corner. The resultant corner gave us a route back into the game. Rafaelle rose for the header and gifted our squad a lifeline and a huge goal before the break.
In the second-half, we held onto that momentum. Our Gunners had a couple of early chances on the counter through Katie McCabe and Victoria Pelova as dual number 10s, as we steadily grew into the game.
Our hard work paid off in the 70th minute as an impeccable defence-splitting pass from Lotte Wubben-Moy found Pelova bursting into the box. Our Dutch midfielder then whizzed the ball across the face of goal and Stina Blackstenius was there to bury it in the net.
It was then time to show our resilience at the back. Our backline, including Player of the Match Jen Beattie, nullified Wolfsburg's attacking threat to ensure we came away from the match with a well-earned point.
Now only one game away from a historic Champions League final - a stage we haven’t reached since winning the whole competition back in 2007 - it’ll be another massive test of will to secure a win against the Bundesliga side in the home leg.
What it means
With this big result away from home, it’s all to play for in the second leg at Emirates Stadium. Tickets are still available to purchase for the crunch game on May 1.
Arsenal Starting XI: Zinsberger (GK), Maritz, Wubben-Moy, Beattie, Rafaelle, Catley (Wienroither, 70), Walti, Maanum, Pelova (Kuhl, 88), McCabe (C), Blackstenius
Subs not used: D'Angelo (GK), Marckese (GK), Goldie, Reid, Agyemang, Harbert
Wolfsburg Starting XI: Frohms (GK), Wilms, Hendrich, Janssen, Rauch, Oberdorf, Roord, Brand (Wassmuth, 63), Huth, Jonsdottir, Pajor
Subs not used: Weiß (GK), Kiedrzynek (GK), Agrez, Bremer, Demann, Wolter, Blomqvist, Wedemeyer, Hegering
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