Australian football fans have reason to cheer as the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals saw Caitlin Foord’s Arsenal advance to the final four. The Gunners overturned a one-goal deficit from the first leg and beat Bayern Munich 2-0 at Emirates Stadium, thanks to first-half goals from Frida Maanum and Stina Blackstenius.
Despite missing injured Matilda Steph Catley, Arsenal dominated the opening 45 minutes to seal a 2-1 aggregate victory in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 21,307.
Arsenal’s captain, Kim Little, had to leave the pitch after a 10th-minute challenge, and the Gunners lost their captain and midfield dynamo. However, they were able to bounce back from the early setback and scored two goals in the first half to win the match.
Frida Maanum scored an incredible opener for Arsenal with a delightful bend from the edge of the box.
Stina Blackstenius doubled the Gunners’ lead with a close-range header from a Katie McCabe cross, but Arsenal missed several other opportunities to put the game beyond doubt. Bayern goalkeeper, Maria-Luisa Grohs, kept her team in the game with some excellent saves.
Champions League semi-finalists.
WE ARE THE ARSENAL. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/pzdGgipMVl
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) March 29, 2023
After the Match
Speaking after the match, a thrilled Foord credited the fans for driving the team to victory. She said, “Thanks to everyone that came out; they played a massive part in us getting the win tonight. I can’t thank them enough.” Arsenal will face the winner of Thursday’s Wolfsburg-PSG clash for a place in the showpiece game of European soccer.
Meanwhile, Sam Kerr’s Chelsea will take on Ellie Carpenter’s Lyon in the other half of the draw on Thursday (Friday AEDT). Chelsea has a 1-0 advantage going into the second leg against the reigning champions from France, thanks to Guro Reiten’s goal.
Arsenal will face either Wolfsburg or Paris Saint-Germain in the semi-finals of the Champions League. This advancement is the first time Arsenal has made it to the semi-finals of the tournament since 2013.
Last year, they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Wolfsburg, who could stand in their way again this time. The German team leads PSG 1-0 on aggregate.
A Congratulatory Message
Following the match, Arsenal Women’s head coach, Jonas Eidevall, revealed that he received a message of congratulations from the club’s sporting director, Edu.
“The support from the whole club is magnificent. There is a lot of talk about always acting with class – you really understand the meaning of that when you’re inside the organization,” Jonas said.
Eidevall is now hoping to become the first coach to lead a British side to Champions League glory since 2007 when Arsenal beat Swedish side Umea to win it.
During the match, Arsenal Women lost captain Kim Little to injury early in the game before Katie McCabe was also forced off with a knock in the closing stages.
Eidevall was unable to provide an update on their status, but he will be hoping they can recover quickly ahead of Sunday’s crucial game against title rivals Manchester City in the Women’s Super League. Arsenal currently trails second-placed City by three points but has a game in hand.
Arsenal will be looking to continue their impressive form and build on their success in the Champions League as they push for a title in the Women’s Super League.