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Page last updated at 19:01 GMT, Wednesday, 22 September 2010 20:01 UK

Arsenal ladies open Champions League campaign with win

By Tony Leighton

England's Rachel Yankey grabbed Arsenal's opening goal
England's Rachel Yankey grabbed Arsenal's opening goal

Arsenal opened their Women's Champions League campaign with a 3-1 first leg win away to Serbian side ZFK Masinac.

The Gunners made sure of victory late on in a hard-fought encounter watched by a hostile home crowd of about 2,000.

Late goals by Gilly Flaherty and Danielle Carter tipped the scales in Arsenal's favour after Marija Rodojicic had equalised Rachel Yankey's opener.

"We were well on top for the first 20 minutes and could have been four goals up," said manager Laura Harvey.

"But we let them back into the game and we got punished. It became a very competitive match and we could have ended up losing."

It looked as though it would be plain sailing when England left winger Yankey fired Arsenal in front with a fine 18-yard drive after just 12 minutes.

But other chances went begging and the Serbians fought back to level the scores through striker Rodojicic's 12-yard strike 17 minutes into the second half.

606: DEBATE

The game could then have gone either way, but the Gunners edged in front when central defender Flaherty headed in Yankey's 86th-minute corner.

And two minutes later substitute Carter raced on to midfielder Jayne Ludlow's lofted through-ball to shoot home what could be a vital third goal to take into the second leg.

With a two-goal advantage and away goals counting double in the event of the tie being drawn on aggregate, Arsenal will be favourites to progress to the Round of 16.

But Harvey added: "We'll take nothing for granted against a young side who will never give up battling, but home advantage could be crucial.

"We were travel-weary going into this game after a 12-hour journey on the day before the match, and we've had to play in boiling hot sunshine on a dreadful pitch.

"Playing at home in October and on a far better playing surface will hopefully work in our favour - but this tie is not over yet."



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see also
Everton move into knockout stage
10 Aug 10 |  Women
Arsenal win Women's Premier title
09 May 10 |  Women
Everton upset Arsenal to win Cup
03 May 10 |  Women


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