Arsenal suffer narrow loss in battling Champions League quarter-final first leg

·3-min read

Arsenal produced a battling performance at the Allianz Arena as they went down to a 1-0 defeat in their Women’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Bayern Munich.

Lea Schuller’s first-half header saw Bayern home, yet Arsenal will fancy their chances of turning the tie around in next week’s return.

They created a number of opportunities, being denied by goal-line clearances and the woodwork as Bayern ultimately did enough to record a 13th-successive victory in all competitions this season.

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Arsenal, though, showed more than enough to suggest that a semi-final appearance for the first time since 2013 was not beyond them.

Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall made one change from the 4-0 WSL victory over Reading, with Stina Blackstenius replacing Lotte Wubben-Moy.

Blackstenius had the game’s first clear-cut chance following outstanding work by Caitlin Foord, but she was unable to get a 10th-minute header on target as Bayern came under early pressure.

Arsenal’s bright start showed no sign of abating and they went close again 10 minutes later with Blackstenius turning provider this time, but Frida Maanum’s effort was blocked by Bayern goalkeeper Maria Luisa Grohs.

Bayern then began to impose themselves on the contest and – after she went within a whisker of breaking the deadlock – Schuller came up trumps six minutes before half-time.

Schuller’s header into the top corner of the net was her 14th goal of the season and meant that Arsenal went into the interval a goal down.

Foord received a yellow card early in the second half, but an impressive response saw her take on the Bayern defence and power a shot past Grohs, only to see the ball bounce back off the post.

Eidevall made a change on the hour mark, sending on Netherlands midfielder Victoria Pelova for her Champions League debut as she took over from Laura Wienroither.

Arsenal remained firmly in contention and they went desperately close to an equaliser when Blackstenius and Rafaelle Souza both had chances.

Blackstenius thought she had tied the game, but her header was blocked on the line by Saki Kumagai and Bayern escaped.

Arsenal exerted relentless pressure and Bayern were again forced into last-ditch defending 16 minutes from time as Schuller somehow blocked Leah Williamson’s effort on the line.

Bayern were well and truly on the back foot, although they did go close to doubling their advantage during the closing minutes when Arsenal goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger saved brilliantly to deny Maximiliane Rall, before their England midfielder Georgia Stanway limped off during added time.