WOMEN’S CHAMPIONS LEAGUE – ARSENAL THRASH HOFFENHEIM TO EARN FIRST GROUP STAGE WIN

Women’s Champions League, Meadow Park – Arsenal 4 (Little 21′ Pen, Heath 45’+1, Miedema 51′, Williamson 85′) TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 0

Arsenal are up and running in the group stage of the Champions League after thrashing Hoffenheim 4-0 in Borehamwood.

Jonas Eidevall’s side were attempting to put behind them a 4-1 defeat to Barcelona, a match in which they were completely dominated by the European champions. But it was the German side who started brighter, and Nicole Billa wasted a huge chance in the opening minutes when she blazed over the bar from just a few yards out.

That was a let off for Arsenal, who grew into the game, inspired in the early stages by Women’s Super League player of the month Beth Mead. The England forward and USA World Cup winner Tobin Heath were at the heart of their most promising moments, and they got the breakthrough midway through the first half.

Mead was brought down inside the penalty area, and captain Kim Little sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to put her side 1-0 up.

Arsenal were now in the ascendancy, and in first half stoppage time, Heath got her first goal for the club with a first time shot from a Vivianne Miedema header.

The WSL leaders took complete control after the break, with Miedema getting herself on the scoresheet with a tap in, after Hoffenheim keeper Martina Tufekovic struggled to keep out an effort on the edge of the box from Jordan Nobbs.

Arsenal took their foot off the gas a touch at that point, and Hoffenheim’s Jules Brand saw her effort well saved by Manuela Zinsberger. But the hosts would have the final say, when Leah Williamson’s header finished a brilliant cross from Kirsty McCabe with five minutes of the 90 left to play.

Elsewhere, Barcelona eased to a 2-0 win at Danish side HB Koge in the same group, while in Group D, Bayern Munich thumped BK Hacken 4-0, with Lyon going one better in their 5-0 win over Benfica.

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