Richard Buxton·29 March 2023
Richard Buxton·29 March 2023
The Women’s Champions League semi-finals started to take shape with four teams in quarter-final action on Wednesday.
Here’s what went down.
Scorers: Maanum 19′, Blackstenius 26′
Arsenal reached their first Women’s Champions League semi-final in a decade after overcoming Bayern Munich.
Jonas Eidevall made two changes from his side which roundly beat Tottenham in the WSL as Manuela Zinsberger and Rafaelle Souza both returned to the starting line-up.
The Gunners’ hopes of a turnaround in the tie were dealt an early blow when captain Kim Little limped out with an injury after a challenge from Sarah Zadrazil on the halfway line.
But Frida Maanum levelled up matters at the Emirates Stadium with a stunning long-range effort from Leah Williamson’s backheel to leave Maria Grohs comfortably beaten.
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A second followed midway through the first half as Stina Blackstenius rose to meet Katie McCabe’s cross from the byline to gain an upper hand in the tie.
Blackstenius continued to fuel Arsenal’s hopes of reaching their first European semi-final since 2013 with a surging counterattack which was cut short by Grohs.
The two scorers combined late in the first half when Maanum’s free kick found Blackstenius before a sprawling save from Grohs gave Bayern a fighting chance.
Klara Bühl fired the visitors’ first warning shot in the second 45 minutes with an effort which Lotte Wubben-Moy kept off-target with a timely deflection.
Another effort from Bühl required a dual clearance from Zinsberger and Williamson as Bayern continued to grow in confidence.
McCabee instigated the hosts’ fightback by dancing through the visitors’ defence before seeing her shot deflected narrowly wide.
Caitlin Foord enjoyed Arsenal’s best second-half chance after being teed up by Maanum in the area but sent a first-time shot over from close-range.
Eidevall’s side face the winner of Thursday’s semi-final between Wolfsburg and Paris Saint-Germain in their long-awaited last four outing.
Scorers: Rolfö 11′, 45+3′, León 33′, Oshoala 46′, Guijarro 53′, Serturini 58′
Barcelona coasted into their fifth straight UWCL semi-final with a 6-1 aggregate win over Roma.
The Femení already held a one-goal lead from the first leg at the Stadio Olimpico and headed into the return clash fuelled by extending their Liga F streak to an incredible 58 games.
Roma started the brighter in front of a 54,667-strong Camp Nou with Annamaria Serturini and Valentina Giacinti both giving Sandra Paños early scares.
But Fridolina Rolfö soon restored her side’s sense of order in the tie with a volleyed finish after Asisat Oshoala nodded a cross into her path.
Oshoala almost doubled the hosts’ lead on the night just a matter of minutes later with a shot which was tipped over by Camelia Ceasar.
Barça’s continued to ramp up the pressure as a goal-bound effort from Aitana Bonmatí required Elena Linari’s crucial interception.
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Mapi León added a touch of class to the Catalan side’s route in the final four with a stunning long-range effort.
Rolfö doubled her tally shortly before the interval by meeting Caroline Graham Hansen’s cross to the far post.
Jonatan Giráldez’s side went further ahead just a minute into the second half with Oshoala converting Bonmatí’s delivery across the face of goal.
Roma’s misery was compounded by Patri Guijarro glancing home unchallenged from a Hansen free kick to add further gloss.
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The Giallorossi were offered a faint lifeline as Serturini had the beating of Paños from just inside the penalty area to reduce their hefty deficit.
Camelia Ceasar ensured the scored remained respectable in the closing stages with a strong save to deny Geyse’s low-driven attempt from distance.
Barça will take on the winner from the remaining quarter-final between Chelsea and Lyon.