Arsenal Women will play no part in this season’s UEFA Women’s Champions League after losing 4-2 on penalties to Paris FC following a dramatic 3-3 draw.
Paris FC finished third in Ligue 1 last season, and came out on top of a four team mini-tournament hosted by Linkoping, who Arsenal beat on Wednesday to set up the qualifying final against the Parisians.
The Parisians took a shock lead ten minutes into the second half when a deep cross from Mathilde Bourdieu was floated over Arsenal goalkeeper Manu Zinsberger, hit the post and somehow crept over the line. Bourdieu then doubled Paris’ lead a minute later. A rare misplaced pass from Lia Walti was capitalised on before Boudieu was played in behind and finished well through the legs of Zinsberger.
Jonas Eidevall responded by bringing four substitutes on at once, with one of them, Alessia Russo, giving Arsenal hope with just over ten minutes to go by scoring her first goal for the club. As the clock ticked down in added on time, Jen Beattie was thrown upfront by Eidevall and scored a striker’s header to equalise for the Gunners, timing her run perfectly to meet McCabe’s cross.
Beattie’s header took the game to extra time and Paris struck first moments into the second period of the additional half hour through Louise Fleury. Star signing Russo completed her brace to take the game to penalties with a fantastic strike from range, but along with Frida Maanum was denied by Nigeria goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie in the penalty shootout.
Paris scored three from four from the spot, and progressed to the second qualifying round. Arsenal reached the semi-finals of last season's competition but have this year failed to even reach the qualifying round before the group stage.
After Arsenal's Champions League defeat, the Gunners will now enter the Conti Cup group stage in either Group C, D or E:Group C: Crystal Palace Lewes London City Lionesses WatfordGroup D: Bristol Southampton Spurs ReadingGroup E: Birmingham Brighton Charlton West Ham???— Freddie Cardy (@CardyFreddie) September 9, 2023