Arsenal Women knocked out of UCL after shock defeat to Paris FC
Arsenal Women won’t feature in this season’s UEFA Champions League after losing on penalties to Paris FC in a thrilling qualifying tie.
The Gunners, who made it to last year’s Champions League semi-finals, came from 2-0 behind to force extra time in the 96th minute, and then sent the contest to penalties when Alessio Russo bagged her second of the game in the 116th minute.
However, the English side were sent crashing out as Paris FC goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie denied Frida Maanum and Russo from the spot to help the French underdogs advance to the next round of qualifying 4-2 on penalties.
Gunners boss Jonas Eidevall made two changes to the starting XI that beat Linkoping 3-0 last time out, with Stina Blackstenius and Steph Catley favoured ahead of Russo and Katie McCabe.
Arsenal started the game brightly, testing Nnadozie in the Paris goal and hitting the woodwork in a frantic opening, before being made to pay for failing to take their chances.
With honours even at 0-0 at the break, the French side stunned The Gunners with two goals in two minutes just shy of the hour mark.
The deadlock was broken in slightly fortuitous fashion when Margaux Le Mouel’s attempted cross hit the post and bounced back into the path of Mathilde Bourdieu, whose header just crossed the line.
Bourdieu then deepened Arsenal’s woes from the restart, bagging her second of the night after getting on the end of Gaetane Thiney’s through-ball and slotting coolly past Manuela ZInsberger.
Russo came off the bench to half Arsenal’s deficit in the 80th minute and Jen Beattie headed home McCabe’s cross in the sixth minute of stoppage time to extend the match.
Julie Soyer restored Paris’ lead at the start of the second period of extra time before Russo’s stunning strike from 25 yards made it 3-3. But the French side wouldn’t be denied as they inflicted more Champions League disappointment on their English counterparts following their semi-final defeat to Vfl Wolfsburg in May.
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