Monday, October 3, 2022

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Mead scores twice as Arsenal beat 10-man Brighton in WSL opener

England star Beth Mead scored a brace as Arsenal opened their Barclays Women’s Super League campaign with a dominating 4-0 win over Brighton.

Forty-eight days after England’s historic Euro 2022 triumph over Germany at Wembley, the WSL season opened in a sold-out Meadow Park after the series of matches scheduled for last week was postponed due to the Queen’s death.

Lionesses captain Leah Williamson and Golden Boot winner Mead were back in the spotlight and back on the winning side as Arsenal reached all three points.

Brighton were already facing an uphill battle to get anything out of Friday night’s game after eight defeats in eight matches against the Gunners.

And the visitors’ evening was turned upside down when Emma Kullberg was shown a straight red after just seven minutes.

As Stina Blackstenius stormed Brighton’s goal, Kullberg tripped her fellow Swede and referee Lisa Benn had no choice but to dismiss the beleaguered defender.

Jonas Eidevall’s side, who were just one point away from beating Chelsea for last season’s title, took full control and the breakthrough came in the 28th minute when Kim Little struck, moments after Elisabeth Terland fended off a chance to give the Seagulls the lead.

Terland was treated to a rare sight of Arsenal’s goal but pushed his effort wide. Ninety seconds later, the home side capitalized.

Caitlin Foord dazzled the Gunners left and her precise drop was deftly converted by Scottish international Little.

Arsenal nearly doubled their lead when Blackstenius shook off the crossbar four minutes later, Megan Walsh then denied Lia Walti after a fine save on the stroke of half-time.

But five minutes into the second half, Blackstenius put the result beyond doubt when she scored Arsenal’s second goal.

Mead put the ball on a plate for Blackstenius and the Sweden international sent his shot into the roof of the net.

Mead was named player of the tournament at the Euros after scoring six times in England’s run to glory. And she found the back of the net shortly after the hour mark.

Little and Vivianne Miedema were involved in the build with Mead chilling home.

With nine minutes remaining, Jordan Nobbs’ shot hit the woodwork, before Mead pounced on a fine Walsh save to score a second time in front of 3,238 fans – and issued an early title warning to rivals Chelsea who will travel to Liverpool on Sunday. .

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