Arsenal have been held to a 2-2 draw by Ajax within the first leg of their Girls’s Champions League Spherical 2 qualifier at Meadow Park on Tuesday.
Jonas Eidevall’s aspect have been pinned again in a pulsating first half however got here racing out of the blocks after the break, although have been unable to place away their possibilities and face a tricky activity of beating the Dutch giants within the return leg.
Gunners goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger was pressured into an early save along with her legs to maintain out a thunderous strike from Victoria Pelova as Ajax started brightly.
The Austrian stopper then needed to react rapidly to maintain out Sherida Spitse’s effort from vary, however was helpless to stop Ajax from taking an 18th-minute lead, with Romee Leuchter firing in on the close to put up.
Arsenal responded properly to this early setback as Beth Mead’s free-kick was spilled by Lize Kop, although Stina Blackstenius by some means could not steer within the rebound.
However Blackstenius wasn’t to be denied moments later when she was first to react to a Rafaelle header that crashed in opposition to the crossbar, firing dwelling to degree the scores.
Ajax maintained an aggressive press all through the primary half, frequently making Zinsberger work and robbing Arsenal defenders of possession.
Leuchter practically doubled her tally on the close to put up as soon as extra earlier than the break however Zinsberger this time acquired a glove to it.
Simply after the break, the Gunners thought they’d gone in entrance after Steph Catley went racing via on aim, however she might solely discover the woodwork and Ajax have been let off the hook.
Arsenal’s robust begin to the second half continued when Rafaelle hit the pot from shut vary, and the hosts have been awarded a penalty after Beth Mead took a tumble within the field. Kim Little stepped up and despatched Kop the improper approach to put the Gunners forward.
England captain Leah Williamson was given an invite to shoot from all of 35 yards quickly after, and her speculative strike wasn’t too distant from beating Kop.
The Dutch goalkeeper produced one other nice smothering save to disclaim Catley from including a 3rd, and Arsenal have been pegged again on the different finish when Leuchter poked dwelling throughout a scramble within the field.
Arsenal have been denied a late winner when Katie McCabe discovered the web, however the offside flag had been raised and the aim was chalked off.
The second leg will happen at De Toekomst on the outskirts of Amsterdam subsequent Wednesday, with Arsenal needing a win – both earlier than the tip of additional time or on penalties – to achieve the group stage.