Linkoping Women 0-3 Arsenal Women: Jonas Eidevall’s side ease past their Swedish opposition but could face tough ties in the second round of Champions League qualification
- Arsenal beat Linkoping in the first round of Champions League qualification
- The Gunners will face the winner of Paris FC v FC Kryvbas in the second game
- Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast It’s All Kicking Off
Arsenal edged a step closer to Champions League qualification with a 3-0 victory over Swedish side Linkoping.
After a frustrating first half which saw captain Kim Little miss a penalty, second half goals from Caitlin Foord, Lina Hurtig and Stina Blackstenius ensured the Gunners’ progression.
Jonas Eidevall’s side have been forced to take the long route to the group stages after finishing third in the Women’s Super League last season. They entered at the first qualifying stage, which consists of two one-legged matches before a two legged knockout game to reach the groups.
Their victory over Linkoping means they will play the winners of Paris FC v FC Kryvbas, who play later this evening. Should the Gunners win that tie, they will face another team over two matches in October.
Lina Hurtig flicked home Arsenal’s second goal in the 81st minute after sustained pressure
Australian international Caitlin Foord got the games opener, heading home Kim Little’s cross
Alessia Russo made her Arsenal debut after moving from Manchester United on a free transfer
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Manchester United will also enter at the second qualifying round and both English clubs could face tough ties, with last year’s runners-up Wolfsburg, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid all possible opponents.
Linkoping are currently second in the Swedish top flight, which runs from March until November, and proved difficult opponents despite the scoreline.
Arsenal had the chance to take the lead in the seventh minute when Frida Maanum’s cross was handled in the box, but Little’s penalty was saved by goalkeeper Cajsa Andersson.
Little then sent a shot just over the bar before Lotte Wubben Moy’s header hit the outside of the post and bounced wide. Arsenal were the team in the ascendency but they were thwarted by Andersson once again as the goalkeeper tipped Maanum’s long-range effort over the bar.
It continued to be Arsenal who did most of the attacking, with Amanda Ilestedt sending a close-range header over at the start of the second half.
Finally the breakthrough came in the 53rd minute. Little twisted and turned on the right-hand side of the box before sending a dinked cross to the back-post, which an unmarked Foord headed home.
Alessia Russo, who was making her Arsenal debut, then missed a good chance to double Arsenal’s lead with the forward sending a close-range header wide.
At the other end, Manuela Zinsberger had to be alert to push Yuka Momika’s free-kick around the post to preserve Arsenal’s lead.
After a period of pressure from the home side, Arsenal found an all-important second goal in the 81st minute when Hurtig flicked in Katie McCabe’s free-kick. Blackstenius then wrapped up the game in the 90th minute as she tapped in Foord’s cross at the near-post.
Foord turned provider when Stina Blackstenius nudged home her cross in the 90th minute
If Arsenal beat either Paris FC or FC Kryvbas they may face Wolfsburg, PSG or Real Madrid
Arsenal (4-3-3): Zinsberger; Maritz (Catley), Wubben-Moy, Ilestedt, McCabe; Walti, Little (Pelova), Maanum (Beattie); Lacasse (Hurtig), Foord, Russo (Blackstenius)
Subs not used: D’Angelo, Williams, Kuhl, Mead, Lia
Goals: Foord 53′, Hurtig 81′, Blackstenius 90′
Manager: Jonas Eidevall
Linkoping (5-3-2) : Andersson; Lennartsson, Ostlund (Brenn), Karlsson (Beard), Lennartsson, De Jongh (Saving); Takarada, Momiki, Selerud; Tandberg, Kapocs (Bjork)
Subs not used: Wiklund, Lovisa, Elofsson, Svedberg, Ozdemir, Lundin, Abam,
Manager: Andreé Jeglertz
Referee: Deborah Anex
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