Author Topic: Arsenal enjoy European glory  (Read 730 times)

Offline David

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Arsenal enjoy European glory
« on: April 30, 2007, 09:02:48 AM »
Arsenal LFC became the fourth team to lift the UEFA Women's Cup, and first from outside Germany and Sweden, after defeating Umeå IK 1-0 on aggregate following a 0-0 second-leg draw in north London.

Divine intervention
Alex Scott's late goal in northern Sweden last Saturday ultimately decided the fate of this final, although Arsenal were grateful that late efforts from Umeå substitute Ramona Bachmann and Marta bounced to safety respectively off the post and crossbar. Arsenal, who are on the cusp of winning an unprecedented quadruple in England, were able to bring on club captain Faye White for today's skipper Jayne Ludlow in the final minute and the duo each helped raise the trophy as the Gunners joined 1. FFC Frankfurt (2002 and 2006), Umeå (2003 and 2004) and 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam (2005) on the roll of honour.

Early action
Both goalkeepers faced nervous moments in the opening minute, Arsenal midfielder Katie Chapman heading wide from a Mary Phillip cross when well-placed close to goal, before Emma Byrne saw an uncertain clearance charged down by Umeå livewire Marta, who was unable to find the target with her subsequent shot from wide on the right. Nerves played a part early on, Elaine losing possession to Ludlow who fizzed a drive over, and Arsenal's Ciara Grant twice having to make amends for her hesitancy by diving in bravely to block shots from Hanna Ljungberg and Lisa Klaveness.

The sides continued to trade chances, chiefly of the half variety, as the half wore on, Karen Carney and Rachel Yankey shooting over for Arsenal, and Marta whipping in a dangerous 25th-minute cross, after outfoxing Scott, which eluded everyone, including three players in black. Set-pieces appeared Arsenal's best route to goal, Yankey cleverly reversing a free-kick to Carney – who shot over – before Swedish international Carola Söberg twice did well to punch away in-swinging Yankey corners from under her crossbar.

Sweeping move
Having gone close to handling in the area, last week's hero Alex Scott featured in a sweeping Arsenal move involving five players which was only brought to an end by a fine Karolina Westberg challenge, while a similarly eye-catching counter from Marta in the 36th minute worked an opening for Lisa Dahlqvist whose low shot was turned behind by Byrne low to her left. Dahlqvist went off in the 56th minute, Madeleine Edlund – not fit to start due to a hip injury – coming on to join Ljungberg up front with Klaveness dropping back into a more familiar midfield role. The reshuffle almost paid immediate dividends, Byrne forced to dive at full stretch to palm away Marta's effort.

Late drama
Arsenal responded in kind, Fleeting twice failing to do justice to superb passes from Carney and Yankey. Ludlow then saw one header dip just over and another diverted behind before Andrée Jeglertz decided to fight fire with fire by bringing on Bachmann in the 74th minute. The 16-year-old Swiss passed up an excellent chance to draw her side level by shooting straight at Byrne when clear in the box after Ljungberg had wriggled free of Mary Phillip, and then hit the post before Marta rattled the bar. Arsenal were not to be denied.