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Arsenal v Ajax: Women’s Champions League qualification – live | Women’s Champions League


Key events

15 minutes: Sherida Spitse has a long shot well hit, but comfortably held by Zinsberger.

14 mins: Maritz again finds space down the right, and his center of the contour line almost finds Hurtig, crouching near the far post.

“Van Gool on the bench for Ajax is a magnificent example of nominative determinism in football,” notes Peter Oh. I also feel like goalkeeper Kop is destined to join Liverpool one day.

10 minutes: Arsenal have yet to put any real pressure on the visitors, who have been lively and well organised. Maritz snags a cross from the bottom right, but Lize Kop is off her line to claim it.

Apologies for the slightly slow start there – it seems the only way to watch this game live (at least in the UK) is via the Arsenal website, on a stream that took a minute or two to get going.

4 mins: An early chance for the visitors here, however, as Weerden collect the ball on the edge of Arsenal’s box and find Pelova, whose shot is parried by Zinsberger.

3 minutes: Arsenal, in their traditional red and white, move the ball through midfield while navy-equipped Ajax press with intent.

Lea Williamson in action.
Lea Williamson in action. Photography: Liam Asman/SPP/REX/Shutterstock

Peep!

We are on our way to Meadow Park.

Something to mark for later: Weekly Women’s Football returns, with a full review of the first round of WSL fixtures and more.

Only three changes since the WSL win over Brighton for Arsenal, with both full-backs replaced – Noëlle Maritz replacing Laura Wienrother, Steph Catley for Katie McCabe. Lina Hurtig, who signed this summer with Juventus, makes her first tenure in place of Caitlin Foord.

Unlike Arsenal’s multinational roster, Ajax’s squad is made up entirely of Dutch players. Rising stars Victoria Pelova and Romée Leuchter may cause problems for the hosts, while captain Sherida Spitse is also the skipper of her national team.

Team News

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Zinsberger; Maritz, Williamson, Raphaëlle, Catley; Wälti, Little (c); Mead, Miedema, Hurtig; Blackstenius.

Subs: Marckese, Wubben-Moy, Beattie, Nobbs, Maanum, McCabe, Foord, Wienroither, Agyemany, Earl, Reid.

Ajax (4-3-3): kop; Van der Most, Kardinaal, Doorn, Verhoeve; Noordam, Spitse (c), Pelova; Grant, Leuchter, Weerden.

Subs: Bussman, Van der Wal, Munsterman, Tromp, Kruize, Keijzer, Hoekstra, Bakker, Van Gool, Sabajo.

Preamble

After their opening WSL win over Brighton looked far less routine due to subsequent slip-ups from Manchester City and Chelsea, Arsenal have the chance to maintain their strong start to the season by claiming a place in the group stages of the Champions League.

Finishing second to Chelsea in the league last season means Jonas Eidevall’s side have avoided the tricky series of mini-KOs that ended Manchester City’s hopes. Instead, they start the final qualifying round, a two-legged tie with Dutch runners-up Ajax, who beat Eintracht Frankfurt to get here.

An emerging rather than an established European force in women’s football, Ajax’s deepest run in this tournament came in 2018-19, when they lost 13-0 on aggregate to Lyon in the last 16. Arsenal will be hot favorites to progress but cannot afford to underestimate a team with plenty of young attacking talent.

With the North London derby on Saturday, a return fixture in Amsterdam next week and new signings to make, Eidevall has some tricky selection calls to make to keep his squad fresh while avoiding a dreaded early European exit. Kick off is at 7:30 p.m.

theguardian Gt

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