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Women's Football News
Arsenal made a good start to their UEFA Women's Cup group matches, picking up three points in their 7-2 victory over Swiss champions FC Zurich Frauen.
The Gunners looked ready for business with a positive line up which included Kim Little and Niamh Fahey making their European debuts for the club while Gemma Davison, on the right wing, completed 90 minutes on the pitch in the competition for the first time also.
Arsenal started their shot tally early in the second minute from a corner but Katie Chapman unfortunately couldn't control the header from Faye White and unfortunately sent the ball wide of goal. But the play remained positive and Davison made her first brace of many down the right wing, finishing with a shot that was somehow cleared off the line by Zurich's troubled defence.
Shortly after in the 8th minute, Davison scored the first goal of the evening and her first ever in European football. The goal was a result of some great build up play and communication between the midfield, with Karen Carney collecting a great pass from Kim Little, crossing it to Davison on the edge of the box who shot hard and low past Stenia Michel.
Zurich weren't about to take a defeat easily and stepped up their game to level the scores after just five minutes of the Gunners being on top. Ramona Ledenmann received the ball just outside the six yard box and hammered it past Emma Byrne, a disappointing goal to concede so soon after Arsenal's promising start.
Vic Akers' side kept their heads held up however, and two further goals were scored before the break. A Kelly Smith special from 25 yards in the 36th minute put Arsenal back on top, and Little followed Davison's lead by securing her first European goal in the 38th minute, converting a superb cross from Davison from the right wing by meeting the ball beyond the far post and smashing it past Michel.
After the break, FC Zurich Frauen came out of the changing rooms with the positive attitude required of them and nearly scored in the 47th minute after Emma Byrne struggled to clear a low shot from Zumbahl, Imhasly collected the loose ball in a dangerous position and luckily Byrne made the good save needed of her.
Arsenal soon found their shooting boots again and Little won the Gunners their first corner of the half shortly after, and Ludlow made it 4-1 in the 51st minute when she picked up the loose ball which was parried away from goal by the keeper seconds before. A low shot to the right of the keeper was too powerful for Michel to get to. The fifth goal for the Gunners came just four minutes later, courtesy of a free kick 40 yards from goal. Carney took it quickly, chipping the ball over a Zurich defender, with Smith taking it past the keeper who came off her line. Smith unselfishly passed the ball left to Ludlow who tapped in her second of the match past the last defender in the Swiss team.
Little continued the goal frenzy, scoring her second in the 56th minute with a similar goal to that of her first goal of the night. A Davison cross fell nicely for Little in the six yard box, and the keeper had no chance of saving the sixth Arsenal goal.
Arsenal kept up their momentum for the next ten minutes and the high levels of persistence and energy from the north Londoners made Zurich look tired. An incredibly disappointing own goal from Niamh Fahey came in the 65th minute when she looked to pass back to Byrne, however bad communication left the goalkeeper diving one way and the ball going the other into the back of the net.
The final goal of the match was in the 90th minute after Dannii Bird was taken down in the opposition's box by a pointless tackle from the Zurich defence. Little stepped up to take her first penalty for the Club, and calmly tucked the ball in the right hand corner of the net, completing her hat-trick on a successful evening for Arsenal.
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