September 13 – Arsenal and Manchester City have all but ensured their passage to the round of 16 of the Women’s Champions League after big wins against Fiorentina and Lugano. Defending champions Lyon trashed Russian club Ryazan 9-0.
The WSL champions travelled to Florence for the first leg of tie with Fiorentina and Dutch star player Vivianne Miedema, back from injury, inspiring Arsenal to a comfortable 0-4 win with a brace.
Arsenal haven’t play Champions League football for five years and in pre-season lost friendlies against Wolfsburg and Barcelona, but they had few problems dispatching the Italians. “It’s nice to be back in the Champions League,” said Arsenal midfielder Kim Little. “I think a lot of us have played in the Champions League and I think we slotted back in very nicely and it was a really professional performance.”
In the 17th-minute Miedema opened the score with a cool finish before she set up Little for Arsenal’s second. After the break Miedema produced a third English goal before Lisa Evans’ left-footed volley completed the easy win. Last season Fiorentina were runners-up in the Serie A, but they offered little going forward. The return leg in a fortnight’s time seems a mere formality.
“We were very unlucky,” said Fiorentina’s manager, Antonio Cincotta, of the process which saw them draw unseeded Arsenal. “I was very angry when this happened because we had a chance, many options to have another team on a different level. Arsenal are England champions, with players who were second in the World Cup, so for us it was a very tough situation. That is football. I hope in the future we will have groups, it will increase the level. We didn’t have a chance against Arsenal but in a group maybe we could do something better.”
In Switzerland, Manchester City had little trouble with Lugano, though the 1-7 result doesn’t reflect the 1-1 first-half scoreline. Georgia Stanway broke the deadlock for the visitors in the 25th minute, but Kaela Dickerman levelled just before half time. After the interval, Manchester City however ran away with the game scoring six goals. Aoife Mannion from the penalty spot, Pauline Bremer and Caroline Weir both with a brace, and Janine Beckie all got on the scoresheet.
In other results, reigning champions Lyon hammered Russia’s Ryazan 9-0 with Ada Hegerberg and Wendie Renard both getting a hat-trick. Wolfsburg even went one better, putting ten past Mitrovica with a hat-trick from Pernille Harder. PSG ran seven past Braga and Barcelona defeated Juventus 2-0 in Turin. The return legs will be played on September 25 and 26.
This season’s Women’s Champions League final will be staged in Vienna on May 24.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1571751688labto1571751688ofdlr1571751688owedi1571751688sni@o1571751688fni1571751688