·29 September 2022
·29 September 2022
Vivianne Miedema gave the Gunners a 1-0 victory at Sportcomplex De Toekomst in Amsterdam, with her side securing a 3-2 win on aggregate.
This meant Arsenal qualified for the group stage of the Women’s Champions League.
It was not all plain sailing in the Dutch capital. Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall revealed that the goalposts had to be adjusted to the right size before kick-off.
“It has been a weird experience coming here and playing a big club like Ajax and we have to measure the goals and it turned out they were 10 centimetres too small,” he said.
“I have never experienced anything like it, but we can only control what we can control.”
Suzy Wrack, a women’s football journalist at The Guardian, also posted a photo of the goalposts being measured and altered at half-time.
Ajax have since released a statement on the matter, saying: “There is daily maintenance on the pitches and, prior to this game, something went wrong when putting the goals back on the main field.
“After being identified by Arsenal and UEFA, this was rectified before kick-off. We obviously regret this and will adjust the procedure to avoid this kind of incident in the future.”
Eidevall also had strong words to say about being denied a concussion substitute after Beth Mead was forced off with a head injury in the dying minutes of the match.
Arsenal played the remainder of the game with 10 players, having already used all three of their regulation changes.
Eidevall had prepared to bring on Lina Hurtig in place of Mead, but was eventually told this was not possible by the official. Concussion substitutes have not yet been officially adopted by UEFA.
“There is no doubt that Beth Mead needs to be taken off,” Eidevall said. “The problem that I have is that I asked the fourth official if we can do a concussion sub and she says ‘yes.’ Then when we are preparing Lina [Hurtig] and when we are about to do it she says ‘no.’
“We had a break for two to three minutes while Beth was treated, we would have been talking about how to play with 10.
“That misinformation from the referee… I don’t understand it. It’s such a simple question to answer yes or no. But the players were brilliant and defended well with 10.”
The Gunners will now play in the Champions League group stage for a second season in a row.
They progressed to the quarter-final stage last season, crashing out to Wolfsburg.
Arsenal are still the only English club to win the Women’s Champions League, lifting the trophy in 2007.
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