Arsenal beat Fiorentina at Meadow park by two goals to nil in the second leg of their Women’s Champions League tie. The Gunners had started their run in the UWCL knockout stages two weeks ago with a 4-0 rout of Fiorentina in Florence, with Vivianne Miedema, Kim Little, and Lisa Evans all on the scoresheet. Today they move on to the next round after lifting their total to six and keeping another clean sheet.
The first shot was Arsenal’s—Danielle van de Donk found a way through Fiorentina’s back line with a pass to Kim Little, but Little sent it over the goal. Fiorentina had seen a bit of the Gunners’ box, but they hadn’t been able to trouble Pauline Peyraud-Magnin in goal.
Arsenal’s first test came in the form of a corner for Fiorentina—the type of situation where a complacent team can give up cheap goals—and the Gunners defended well enough, preventing the Viola from getting any shots on target. Fiorentina had opportunities on the counterattack, but every time Arsenal got back quickly and found a way to get the ball back. The Gunners were patient and picked their way slowly forward, and it seemed like only a matter of time before they added to their tally.
But Fiorentina packed themselves behind the ball and swarmed around Vivianne Miedema, clogging Arsenal’s path to goal. The Gunners came closer and closer without finding the back of the net—until the 42nd minute, when a shot from Miedema caromed off the arm of Janni Arnth and the referee gave Arsenal a penalty. Kim Little made it look easy, and Arsenal extended their aggregate lead to 5-0.
Fiorentina switched to a back 5 at halftime, but their first substitution—Paloma Lázaro for Janelle Cordia—added speed to their side as they looked for a consolation goal. Peyraud-Magnin had to make a save with 63 minutes on the clock, but she gathered Greta Adami’s shot comfortably.
Arsenal used the remaining 25 minutes to give Jordan Nobbs and Lia Wälti some game time now that both have returned to the pitch from injury. Nobbs had a few goes at Fiorentina’s goal within seconds of coming on, but it would be Miedema who scored next, powering a shot through keeper Francesca Durante’s outstretched hand and into the back of the net (Nobbs did get the assist, though). 6-0 on aggregate, and this one was pretty much over with 15 minutes still to go.
Nobbs and Miedema were still trying to score well into stoppage time, but the rest of the Gunners were content to see out the game with solid defense, and the team’s six goals were more than enough to earn a spot in the next round.
The UWCL round of 16 draw takes place on Monday, and Arsenal play again on Sunday against Brighton Women in the league.