Ajax Women 0-1 Arsenal Women: Vivianne Miedema sends Arsenal through to the Champions League group stage… as the Gunners fend off the Dutch giants 3-2 on aggregate to become second WSL side to qualify
- Arsenal Women beat Ajax Women 1-0 to qualify for the Champions League
- Vivianne Miedema scored her third of the season to seal a 3-2 aggregate win
- The Gunners are just the second WSL to reach the group stages after Chelsea
Arsenal booked their place in the Champions League group stage with a 1-0 victory over Ajax.
The Gunners had been held to a 2-2 draw in the first leg last week and travelled to Amsterdam knowing they would need a better performance to progress.
In a game of few chances, it was the ever reliable Vivianne Miedema who provided the decisive moment, finding the net with an excellent strike just after half-time.
Vivianne Miedema’s goal sent Arsenal through to the Champions League group stage
The Dutch forward’s third of the season was enough to beat Ajax 3-2 on aggregate
There would have been some concern had Arsenal not joined Chelsea in the group stage. England’s coefficient has already taken a real hit in the last two years and with Manchester City going out earlier in qualifying, the Gunners progression was crucial.
They did just enough but probably deserved their aggregate victory based on their performances across both legs.
The biggest talking point of the first half had been that the goal Arsenal were shooting into was 10 centimeters too small. Adjustments were made before kick-off, though it did little to help the away side.
Rafaelle Souza was substituted just 39minutes into the first half in Amsterdam
Chances were few and far between, with the best opportunity falling to Stina Blackstenius – who could only place a tame effort straight at Ajax goalkeeper Lize Kop.
When you need a moment of magic, there is only one person you want the ball to fall to.
Six minutes after the break Miedema showed why she is one of the world’s best, producing a goal out of nothing. The forward picked up a loose ball outside the box, drove forward and unleashed a powerful strike into the bottom left corner.
Miedema scored in a goal which had to be resized before the start as it was 10cm too small
Ajax should have equalised when a cross fell to Tiny Hoekstra in the box but the striker fired wide under pressure from Lotte Wubben-Moy.
Arsenal had chances to double their lead with Caitlin Foord twice going close with efforts from inside the box.
There was some controversy late in the game as Lisa Doorn collided with Beth Mead, with the Ajax defender heading the Arsenal winger’s cheekbone. Mead, who had come on as a substitute in the second half, had to go off with suspected concussion but the Gunners were unable to bring on a replacement because they had used all of their substitute windows.
Ajax (4-3-3): Kop; van der Most (Bakker 80′), Kardinaal, Doorn Verhoeve; Noordam, Spitse, Pelova; Grant (Tromp 87′), Leuchter, Weerden (Hoekstra 64′)
Subs not used: Munsterman, Kruize, Keijzer, Ivan Gool, Sabajo, de Sanders, Bussman
Yellow cards: Doorn 89′, Spitse 32′
Manager: Suzanne Bakker
Arsenal (4-4-2): Zinsberger; Wienroither, Williamson, Carvalho Souza (Wubben-Moyat 39′) Catley; Foord, Little, Wälti, McCabe; Miedema (Maanum 84′), Blackstenius (Mead 67′)
Subs not used: Beattie, Nobbs, Maritz, Hurtig, Marckese, Iwabuchi, Williams
Manager: Jonas Eidevall
Referee: Marta Huerta de Aza