The third round of group stages are done and dusted in the Women’s Champions League, with only two teams able to continue their winning ways as more twists and turns took place across Europe to set up some enticing reverse fixtures.
Eight games saw 19 goals and only two draws, with Chelsea relishing a third victory in Group A to fire them five points clear of their nearest competitor in Paris Saint-Germain after a 2-0 win over Real Madrid and placing them in pole position for the latter stages of the tournament.
Second-half goals from Sophie Ingle and Erin Cuthbert proved decisive, and Cuthbert in particular was praised by manager Emma Hayes for her tenacious performance in which she was duly rewarded with her second screamer in as many games.
Despite notching an emphatic 5-0 victory over Group A punching bag Vllaznia – three goals less than Chelsea mustered in their matchup with the Albanian outfit – PSG sit level on points with Real Madrid.
A 1-1 draw between Group B leaders Wolfsburg and AS Roma sees the sides level on points but the reigning German champions are ahead on goal difference. An early lead from Roma in the opening five minutes through Valentina Giacinti came as a shock to the current league leaders but a determined defensive performance after Wolfsburg’s equaliser on the half-hour mark saw them come away with a deserved draw.
Thursday night saw the only other draw of the week as Juventus welcomed Arsenal to Turin. Despite a dominant first half in terms of possession and invention in what Arsenal fans cheekily dubbed the “Joe Montemurro derby”, the Gunners painfully lacked a cutting edge against the European heavyweights and found themselves a goal behind shortly after the interval thanks to Lineth Beerensteyn, who had provided Arsenal’s backline with plenty of warnings before making them pay with a clinical strike.
But Vivianne Miedema salvaged a critical point for the Gunners with a header following Frida Maanum’s corner. The goal marked the Dutch forward’s first goal in seven matches across all competitions and her first start since November 3 before her leave of absence to “rest and recharge” after a difficult start to the season.Who will win the Champions League? Have your say in the comments below.
The result leaves Arsenal on seven points, just two points ahead of Juventus and three ahead of Lyon, who emphatically defeated Zurich 3-0 away from home. And Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall praised his side’s response to the deficit amid an ongoing injury crisis.
"I'm happy with the performance, I think we came from a really tough game against Manchester United. I think we have a tough situation in the squad with injuries," he said his post-match press conference.
"I'm extremely proud of the players in the team, and the way that we came here and got back to our way of playing against a very tough team like Juventus. I think we created enough to win the game. But that shows our performance was good, and that is something that we can build on for the Everton game."
Elsewhere, Barcelona extended their winning streak in Europe with a 3-0 dispatching of Bayern Munich, placing the reigning Spanish champions three points ahead of last season’s runners-up in the Frauen-Bundesliga thanks to a slew of second-half goals from Geyse, Aitana Bonmati and Claudia Pina.
Women’s Champions League action returns on 7 December.
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