Arsenal 2-0 Bayern Munich (2-1 agg): Superb Gunners book Women’s Champions League semi-final spot
Barely 10 minutes had been played when Little was forced to come off after being brought down by Bayern Munich midfielder Sarah Zadrazil.
Arsenal already came into the second leg of this quarter-final with a hill to climb after losing 1-0 in Munich last week. Suddenly, that hill had become a mountain.
Not that you’d have known it, as the Gunners put in a brilliant performance to reach their first Champions League semi-final in a decade. In the end they were 2-0 winners on the night, but it could easily have been so much more.
Even without star forwards Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema, who will miss the rest of the season with knee injuries, Arsenal’s attack sparkled and they cut Bayern open at will.
Frida Maanum opened the scoring in the 19th minute with a goal that Mead and Miedema would have been proud of.
The ball came to Maanum on the edge of the box after Leah Williamson, who took over as captain and moved into midfield when Little went off injured, Cruyff flicked it to her. Without hesitation, Maanum let fly first time and smashed the ball home off the post.
It was the lift-off the Gunners needed in the tie and the 21,307 inside Emirates Stadium – an Arsenal record for a home European women’s game – began to bring the noise Williamson had called for before this second leg.
Just seven minutes later, it was 2-0. This time Katie McCabe skipped past her opponent down the left and Stina Blackstenius had the easiest of headers.
Much was made of Bayern’s formidable defence before this tie and the fact they have conceded just four goals in 16 league games this season on their way to the top of the Bundesliga. They were all at sea in the first-half here, though, and the main complaint Eidevall will have had is that his team didn’t kill the game.
Williamson missed a glorious header from six yards out, Blackstenius was twice denied by Bayern goalkeeper Maria-Luis Grohs and Lotte Wubben-Moy hit the crossbar. It could have easily been 6-0 at half-time.
The fear for Arsenal was that they would be made to pay for their lack of efficiency in front of goal, but Bayern didn’t manage a shot on target until the 89th minute. Before that, the closest they came was when Klara Buhl cut inside on the hour mark and had an effort blocked by Wubben-Moy.
Other than that, Arsenal dominated the second-half and yet more chances went begging. Caitlin Foord was the biggest guilty party, blazing over the bar from 12 yards out when the goal was gaping after a lovely flick from Maanum.
Thankfully for Arsenal and Eidevall, it did not matter and the Gunners are into the semi-finals – where they will face either Paris Saint-Germain or Wolfsburg.
The opportunity for another historical night at the Emirates is on the table.