Arsenal crash out of Champions League to PSG

Arsenal Women huddle before a match at Meadow Park (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Arsenal Women huddle before a match at Meadow Park (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo) - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Arsenal’s Champions League dream came to an end on Saturday evening as they failed to reach their first semi-final in the tournament since 2013 as they lost out 2-1 to Paris Saint-Germain in San Sebastian.

Manuela Zinsberger had the first touch of the goalkeeper’s when Marie-Antoinette Katoto played the ball into former Chelsea star Ramona Bachmann but Leah Williamson pushed her out wide before her weak effort was dealt with by the Austrian stopper.

PSG then wanted a penalty as Katie McCabe made a block from a Grace Geyoro effort but referee Esther Staubli waved the Parisian’s protests away.

The French side took the lead on 15 minutes when Katoto got in front of Williamson following a corner from Nadia Nadim before powering a first time strike beyond Zinsberger leaving the goalkeeper with no chance of saving.

Joe Montemurro’s side then nearly hit back instantly when Noelle Maritz got up the wing before pulling the ball back for Kim Little who fired her effort wide when she should have hit the target from close range.

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PSG were the more relaxed side in the opening half hour as Williamson had a moment to forget when she sliced the ball in the air before Zinsberger just about dealt with it.

Kadidiatou Diani who was a doubt before the game with an injury sustained in the Coupe De France semi-final then found herself in the book as she slid in on Swiss midfielder Lia Wälti.

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Arsenal then were to find themselves level on 39 minutes with Beth Mead scoring her first ever champions league goal as she turned in the box following a Kim Little pass before curling the ball beyond Christiane Endler and into the far corner of the net.

Joe Montemurro’s side were dealt a blow early in the second half as Jennifer Beattie was replaced due to an injury and was replaced by Viktoria Schnaderbeck who signed a new contract earlier this summer.

PSG then had an opportunity to go ahead as Diani was picked out via a low cross but drilled her effort into the side netting from close range.

Olivier Echouafni’s side were very much on the front foot at the start of the second period but Arsenal nearly caught them out cold with a counter attack when Lisa Evans played a pass into Maritz however she was crowded out and the attack came to nothing.

Maritz was putting in an impressive performance on her debut as Nadim looked like she was going to go one on one with Zinsberger but the Swiss International made a perfectly timed tackle to deny her on 59 minutes.

From the resulting corner Williamson then made a fantastic clearance as Irene Paredes got a header in on goal as she beat McCabe to the ball at the front post.

Williamson then came to the rescue again a matter of moments later as from another corner she made a huge block to stop a Katoto strike going on target as she ran onto the loose ball.

Arsenal were struggling to get out of their own half but they went on another counter attack on 64 minutes, Little playing the ball out to Evans before she cut the ball back for Danielle van de Donk however she took a heavy touch and PSG cleared the danger.

As PSG started to dictate the game once more Schnaderbeck came to Arsenal’s aid as Diani who was causing all sorts of problems as she got down the wing once more but her low cross was well cut out by the Austrian international.

Arsenal drove forward once more however with twenty minutes to go as Katie McCabe linked up with Mead but her pass went astray and PSG broke away.

Zinsberger was then to be a hero for the Gunners a minute later when Diani was played in before she thumped a shot goal-wards the keeper making an excellent low save down to her left pushing the ball away for a corner.

Montemurro than thought it was time to make changes as he brought on Jordan Nobbs and Caitlin Foord for Lisa Evans and goalscorer Mead.

PSG however took the lead on 77 minutes as McCabe lost out to Diani before playing the ball to Diani and she then crossed for the Danish International Signe Bruun who beat Williamson to the ball sliding the ball into the empty net.

Arsenal didn’t give up and created a fine opening on 82 minutes when Foord linked up with Miedema crossing the ball into the near-post but the Dutch internationals effort was deflected away for a corner by Ashley Lawrence.

McCabe then thought she was in on goal as Miedema flicked the ball into the Republic of Ireland International but her effort was blocked by Lawrence.

Montemurro then made a late double substitution as McCabe and Van de Donk were replaced by Steph Catley for her Arsenal debut and Jill Roord but they just couldn’t find an equaliser.

PSG will now take on Lyon for a place in the final, after England’s Nikita Parris helped the six-time European champions to a 2-1 win over Bayern Munich in Saturday’s other tie.

As for Arsenal they return home to face Reading in the opening match of the WSL campaign on Sunday September 6.

Arsenal: Zinsberger, Maritz, Williamson, Beattie, McCabe, Wälti, Little, van de Donk, Mead, Evans; Miedema.

Subs used:Catley, Roord, Schnaderbeck, Foord, Nobbs.

Unused subs: Maier, Gut, Stenson, Mace, Filis.

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