Arsenal Ladies Reach Champions League Semi-Final With Win in Italy

One up for the Arsenal ladies.

Arsenal Ladies have secured a place in the last four of the Women's Champions League for the third successive season after beating the Italian side ASD Torres 1-0.

The outcome at the Vanni Sanna stadium in Sassari was effectively decided by a fourth-minute goal from Niamh Fahey, which gave Arsenal an away goal and a 4-1 aggregate lead.

They will now face either the Russian side Rossiyanka or Germany's Wolfsburg in the semi-final during April.

Although ASD Torres threatened going forward, strong defensive performances from Ciara Grant and Gilly Flaherty, and a solid goalkeeping display from Emma Byrne denied the home side the goals they needed.

A twice-postponed FA Cup tie with Nottingham Forest meant this was only Arsenal's second match of the season, but Shelley Kerr's side showed no signs of rustiness.

It was credit to Torres, though, that Fahey's early goal did not kill the tie. The Italians rallied quickly and Byrne had to be alert to first smother a low through ball, and then to gather a long-distance shot from Giorgia Motta.

More chances were to follow in the first half, but a series of interventions from Grant and Flaherty preserved the lead.

Arsenal did not sit back and had chances to extend their advantage, too. A mazy run from Gemma Davison down the right-hand side led to penalty claims when she was bundled to the floor in the Italians' area, though the referee waved play on.

Then Steph Houghton, captain in the absence of the injured Kelly Smith, came close to capitalising on a fumble from the Torres goalkeeper Gaelle Thalmann after 30 minutes, but fired over the bar.

The second half was dominated by Torres as they looked to find a way back into the tie in front of a vocal crowd. However, a slight wobble aside, when Arsenal struggled to deal with a corner bobbling loose in the six-yard box soon after the restart, Kerr's side weathered the pressure.

Late on, a great run from Jordan Nobbs down the right would have doubled Arsenal's lead but for a superb reflex stop from Thalmann.

Powered by article was written by Tom Bennett, for on Wednesday 27th March 2013 17.22 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


image: © michael hilton

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