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9 Sep 2023


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Paris FC players celebrating against Arsenal FC

Photo by Paris FC

This September 9, Paris FC achieved one of the greatest performances in their history by defeating the semi-finalists of the previous edition, Arsenal, (3-3, 4-2 on penalties) in round 1 of the Women's Champions League qualifiers.

The Parisians’ European journey continues following a suspenseful match in which they stood as stubborn opponents to the English giants in the first half, and later dominated them in the early minutes of the second half, successfully taking the lead and putting pressure on Kim Little and co.

Mathilde Bourdieu, PFC’s number 9, scored two goals in under two minutes early in the second half (56’ and 57’) to put Paris firmly in control with a comfortable lead.

However, the Gunners took advantage of PFC’s defensive lack of focus to come back together. First Alessia Russo reduced the gap by scoring her first goal as a London Red (2-1, 80’), before Jennifer Beattie nets a decisive header in the match’s dying minutes (2-2, 96’) taking her team into extra time.

Paris FC v Arsenal Women: UEFA Champions League Group 3 Round Match 2

LINKOPING, SWEDEN - SEPTEMBER 09: Manuela Zinsberger of Arsenal dejected after the Women's UEFA ... [+] Champions League Group 3 Round Match 2 between Paris FC and Arsenal Women at Linkoping Arena on September 09, 2023 in Linkoping, Sweden. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal FC via Getty Images

In the second half of extra time, Julie Soyer scored a first-time finish, putting Paris back in front, but the former Red Devil, Alessia Russo, brought Arsenal level again with a marvelous 22-meter shot.

Despite the Gunners’ successful two comebacks, from 2-0 to 2-2 and from 3-2 to 3-3, the shootout session wasn’t theirs. Unfortunately for Jonas Eidevall’s side, Chiamaka Nnadozie, the Nigerian wonder goalkeeper, was standing in their way, as she saved Alessia Russo and Frida Maanum’s shots offering the Parisian underdogs a 4-2 win.

The 2007 edition winners and last season’s semi-finalists surprisingly crashed out of the prestigious European tournament. They will now have to completely focus on their domestic competitions, postponing their dream of yet another European glory for at least another season.

For their encounter vs. Paris FC, Eidevall opted to start Stina Blackstenius, who scored a goal in Arsenal’s win against Linkoping in the first knockout game of the Round 1 qualifiers. Alessia Russo, who made her debut, was therefore benched. Katie McCabe was also benched, and Stephanie Catley occupied the left-back position.

On September 15, the Round 2 draw will take place and Sandrine Soubeyrand’s side will then know about their upcoming opponent. Round 2 is scheduled to take place in October.

Paris-Saint Germain, Real Madrid, Wolfsburg, Sparta Prague, BK Hacken, and Manchester United are part of the Round 2 pool of teams, alongside the winning teams from Round 1.

Zinsberger (GK), Maritz (McCabe, 59), Wubben-Moy, Ilestedt (Beattie, 90), Catley (Kuhl, 111), Walti (Pelova, 59), Little, Maanum, Lacasse, Foord (Hurtig, 59), Blackstenius (Russo, 59).

Nnaodzie (GK), Bogaert (Abdullina, 80), Greboval, Sissoko (Ould Hocine, 93), Soyer, Korosec (Corboz, 63), Thiney (C), Le Mouel (Ndongala, 105), Mateo, Dufour (Ribadeira, 77), Bourdieu (Fleury, 77).

Juventus Women v Eintracht Frankfurt, UEFA Women's Champions League - Round 1, Final

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 09: Juventus players huddle during the UEFA Women's Champions ... [+] League Round 1 match between Juventus and Eintracht Frankfurt at Deutsche Bank Park on September 09, 2023 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. (Photo by Filippo Alfero - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images)

Juventus FC via Getty Images

In another shocking result, Juventus Turin was knocked out of the competition by Eintracht Frankfurt. Pauline Peyraud-Magnin's partners lost on penalties (1-1, 4-5 on penalties).