Date:Sunday November 12 2006
Arsenal Ladies have reached their first ever Uefa Women`s Cup final. The Uefa Cup is as good as it gets for the ladies of Europe as the ladies are not yet blessed with their own equivalent of the Champions League.
After reaching the semi final last season Vic Akers` side have gone one step further this season after beating Swedish team Brondby IF 3-0 (5-2 agg) at their Meadow Park home in Borehamwood.
The ladies in red and white were tipped to go out before the first game in Sweden but after a shock 2-2 draw away from home, the English side became firm favorites to progress to the final.
Arsenal ladies twice took the lead in Sweden but were twice pegged back by the Swedish outfit. Kelly Smith scored after 9 minutes for the Gunners before Pape equalized on 17 minutes. Smith struck again in the 49th minute but Jensen pulled level 10 minutes later.
It took longer for the girls to score back in England. The fans had to wait 31 minutes before Rachel Yankey scored a rather fortunate goal. The striker fired a shot which bounced off a Bronby defender, deceiving the 'keeper and bouncing into the net. Karen Carney was up next for Arsenal in the 53rd minute after a low cross from Rachel Yankey found Carney at the far post who drilled home. In the final moments of the second half Jayne Ludlow hit a wonderful 25 yard shot but only managed to find the bar but Julie Fleeting was on hand to poach a third and final goal to clinch it. They are the first British team to ever reach the Uefa Women`s Cup final.
Manager Vic Akers had this to say: "Compared to last week we weren't as fluent, but it's more difficult to perform in front of your own fans when you're nervous. The team was nervous for the first 15 minutes or so, but once we'd scored Brøndby had everything to do and I always felt we had more goals in us, and that's how it worked out. The performance was about winning the tie and making the final, we can play a lot better and we will. We've played a lot of games in a short stretch of time and did very well.
Rachel Yankey was player of the match for me. I've said she had to perform more, and she brought that out today. The two wingers kept them on the back foot. When you consider we have some big players missing, it's a big accolade that we've made a European final."
The ladies enjoyed an impressive attendance of 1,293, a crowd far larger than that enjoyed by Borehamwood FC`s male first team for the majority of their home games.
Arsenal will face a tough game in the final. They will play Umeå who yesterday beat Kolbotn IL 6-0 (11-1 agg) to book their place in the final. The final is played over two legs, home and away. Vic Akers yesterday revealed that the ladies will play their home tie at the 60,000 capacity Emirates Stadium. A date is yet to be confirmed but it will be some time in April next year. This is what Akers had to say "I hope we have some trophies on the board when we come to play it. The final will be played at the Emirates Stadium."
Article submitted by Simmy8_2000
Date:Sunday November 12 2006
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