Continental League Cup: Brighton 0 Arsenal 0 (4-2 pens)
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Brighton secured a dramatic penalty-shootout victory over Barclays FA WSL champions Arsenal after both sides battled to a goalless draw in the Continental League Cup.
The Gunners started slowly, and the hosts had a goal ruled out shortly before the break, but aided by reinforcements off the bench Arsenal looked threatening in the dying stages with Vivianne Miedema forcing a good save from Sophie Harris.
With the tie level at full-time, the Seagulls edged the spot-kicks, with Lea Le Garrec netting the decider from 12 yards.
Both teams had good chances to open the scoring in the first half and Le Garrec shot wide for the home side after just four minutes with a low drive which skimmed the post.
Brighton had an excellent chance again after 25 minutes when Aileen Whelan worked her way into the six-yard box and passed the ball across the face of goal, but Arsenal managed to clear the ball quickly.
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Arsenal played their way back into the game and looked threatening before the break. Kim Little's volley on 34 minutes just looped over the bar and Jill Roord took the ball around Harris minutes later, but her shot was kept out by Maya Le Tissier's sliding block.
Brighton created a host of opportunities just before half-time and Ini Umotong had a goal ruled out on 43 minutes as Amanda Nilden committed a foul in the build-up.
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Arsenal started the second half brightly and Little had a good chance, but her close-range shot was blocked by Brighton's defence on 58 minutes.
Brighton looked dangerous on the counter attack and Umotong just headed wide as she met Le Garrec's cross at the back post.
After a long delay for a serious injury to Umotong, Arsenal continued to push for the winner and substitute Miedema almost found the net just after coming on but her low shot from 10 yards out was well saved by Harris.
The game was decided on penalties with Le Garrec scoring the final spot kick to seal two points for Brighton.
Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro said: "We were looking for the killer blow in the final stages, but when you do that you lose the killer moment.
"It's part of the process not to get the decisive goal. We are so clinical and so good most of the time and today is a little bit of a warning sign that we still have to keep our standards high. Today it didn't work and all credit to Brighton.
"It was a 0-0 draw and the tournament determines you have penalties for an extra point so I'm not panicking that we got beat. It was just one of those days you're going to have.
"It's about teams that are very strong in the Barclays FA WSL, that's why the league is so good because you never know what you're going to get. They defended very well they didn't allow us to play through and they got their rewards."
Arsenal: Peyraud-Magnin, Veje (Van de Donk 80), Williamson, Nobbs, Little, Walti, Roord (Miedema 80), McCabe, Quinn, Maier (Evans 80), Mead.
Unused subs: Schnaderbeck, Zinsberger, Mitchell, Beattie.
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