Sunday, September 25, 2022

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Arsenal’s Champions League hopes hang in the balance after Ajax draw

Arsenal still have work to do to reach the Women’s Champions League group stages after being held to a draw by Ajax on Tuesday.

The Gunners had fought back to take the lead in the first leg of their second qualifying round at Meadow Park but were overtaken by a late equalizer as the Dutch side claimed a 2-2 draw.

Scottish champions Rangers will need to overturn a 3-2 deficit to advance after being beaten by Benfica despite two goals from Kayla McCoy in a thriller at Ibrox.

Arsenal fell behind a Romee Leuchter effort after 17 minutes at Boreham Wood but equalized with a Stina Blackstenius strike six minutes later.

Kim Little then put the hosts ahead from the penalty spot just before the hour mark, but Leuchter’s second of the night seven minutes from time kept Ajax firmly level.

Substitute Katie McCabe thought she had claimed a late winner for Arsenal but her effort was ruled out for offside.

Rangers, who were keen to reach the group stage for the first time, were embroiled in a turbulent encounter with McCoy leading after 25 minutes, but Benfica responded with a brace from Ana Vitoria.

McCoy responded to level the scores again but the Portuguese side, who also hit the woodwork twice, won it in the 79th minute when Victoria Esson failed to prevent a ball that deflected into loop on Lisa Martinez. The winner was then credited to Benfica captain Pauleta.

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