Arsenal 3-3 Paris FC (2-4 on penalties): the Gunners eliminated from the Women’s Champions League

Alessia Russo opened her competitive account at Arsenal in her second match since arriving from Manchester United
Alessia Russo opened her competitive account at Arsenal but missed a penalty in the penalty shootout in her second match since arriving from Manchester United

Arsenal suffered a surprise exit in the Women’s Champions League qualifying stages as they were beaten on penalties by French club Paris FC.

The Gunners, who reached the semi-finals of the competition last season, came from 2-0 down and 3-2 down to force a shootout after extra time.

However, Nigerian goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie saved from Arsenal’s England striker Alessia Russo and Frida Maanum as the underdogs won 4-2 on penalties.

Mathilde Bourdieu scored twice in two minutes early in the second half to put Paris firmly in control, but Russo’s first Arsenal goal pulled one back before Jen Beattie’s header leveled things deep in the additional time.

Paris led again in the second half of extra time thanks to a great first time from Julie Soyer, only for the summer, signing Russo’s fabulous 25-yarder to bring Arsenal back level.

However, Nnadozie – who failed to save a single shot on goal in Nigeria’s encounter World Cup shootout defeat to England this summer – was the Parisian hero during his progress on penalties.

More agony in the Champions League for Arsenal

For the second time in just over four months, Arsenal suffered Champions League heartbreak after a grueling match that went the distance – but it was far from it. The May semi-final exit to German giants VfL Wolfsburg.

Head coach Jonas Eidevall will be deeply unhappy with the way his side, who came so close to reaching last season’s final, were able to appear humiliated at such an early stage of the competition, but they will not has few complaints.

Having beat Swedish club Linkoping In their first qualifying match, it was a step forward against a Paris side who have finished third in the French top flight for two consecutive seasons behind Lyon and Paris St-Germain.

Arsenal went close in the first half with Lotte Wubben-Moy’s header cleared off the line, and Paris had barely created a chance before taking the lead in slightly fortunate fashion 11 minutes after the break.

Margaux Le Mouel’s intended cross hit the far post and bounced well for Bourdieu to nod home a header that was judged to have crossed the line despite being caught by Arsenal goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger.

With Arsenal shaken, Bourdieu doubled the lead a minute later, heading a cool finish through Zinsberger’s legs through Gaetane Thiney’s ball almost straight from the restart.

But Eidevall brought Russo off the bench and she robbed Teninsoun Sissoko in the box to open her account for the Gunners before another substitute, Beattie, rewarded the relentless pressure by heading home an inviting Katie McCabe cross six minutes later.

In injury time, Paris needed Thiney’s goal-line clearance to prevent an embarrassing goal from Nnadozie as she almost slammed a corner into her own net, but they led again when Soyer headed home Louise’s cross Fleury.

Russo, showing why Arsenal were so desperate to sign her from Manchester Unitedbrought them back level with a superb strike from distance and gave Maanum a golden chance to win, but she headed over from six yards out.

The miss proved costly as both players involved were denied from the spot by Nnadozie and although Zinsberger also saved one in the penalty shootout, Louna Ribadeira scored Paris FC’s winning penalty.

The French team advances to the final qualifying stage of the competition, where Russo’s former club Manchester United are among the opponents that could await them.

Russo didn’t expect to be knocked out of Europe’s premier competition so quickly after switching clubs, while Eidevall will wonder why he didn’t include her from the start.

Jonas Eidevall took over at Arsenal in June 2021 and led them to the Women's League Cup last season
Jonas Eidevall took over at Arsenal in June 2021 and led them to the Women’s League Cup last season


Arsenal Women

  • 1Zinsberger
  • 16MaritzReplaced byMcCabehas 60′minutesBooked at 78 mins
  • 3Wubben-Moy
  • tenLittle
  • 28IlestedtReplaced byBeattiehas 90+3′minutes
  • 13WaltiReplaced byPelovahas 59′minutes
  • 7CatleyBooked at 87 minutesReplaced byKuhlhas 109′minutes
  • 19FoodReplaced byHurtighas 59′minutesReserved at 99 minutes
  • 24Lacasse
  • 25BlacksteniusReplaced byRussianhas 60′minutes
  • 12Maanum


  • 5Beattie
  • 9Mead
  • 14D’Angelo
  • 15McCabe
  • 17Hurtig
  • 20Queiroz-Costa
  • 21Pelova
  • 22Kuhl
  • 23Russian
  • 40williams
  • 53Lia

Paris FC Women

  • 16Nnadozie
  • 3BogaertBooked at 81 minutesReplaced byAbdoullinahas 81′minutes
  • 4KorosecReplaced byCorbozhas 63′minutes
  • 23SissokoReplaced byHocinehas 93′minutes
  • 27Soyer
  • 11From the ovenReplaced byRibadeirahas 76′minutes
  • 17Thiney
  • 19GrébovalBooked at 43 minutes
  • 15Le MouelReplaced byN’Dongalahas 105′minutes
  • tenMateo
  • 9BourdieuReserved at 60 minutesReplaced byFleuryhas 76′minutesBooked at 78 minutes


  • 1Brands
  • 2Hocine
  • 5Hunter
  • 7Fleury
  • 8Corboz
  • 18N’Dongala
  • 20Ribadeira
  • 21Abdoullina
  • 31Sidibe
  • 40Chicken

Kristina Georgieva

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