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Women's Football News
UEFA Women's Cup Semi Final Second Leg
Arsenal 3 (Yankey 30, Carney 52, Fleeting 90) Brondby 0
Arsenal won 5-2 on aggregate
att: 1,293; at Boreham Wood F.C.
Arsenal have made it through to the UEFA Women's Cup Final for the first time following a convincing victory over Danish Champions Brondby.
The Gunners become the first club from outside Germany or Scandinavia to reach the Final and they never looked like relinquishing the advantage they had taken into the match with the 2-2 draw in the away leg.
With striker Kelly Smith suspended after her red card in the first leg, Karen Carney was recalled to the starting line up and Lianne Sanderson took over the England star's role.
In cold and windy conditions, Arsenal started a little nervously during the opening stages but there were no scares in that time and they came to life midway through the first half as Rachel Yankey pounced on a loose ball and dribbled past a defender before her low shot was saved by Tine Cederkvist.
On the half hour, Arsenal made the breakthrough they craved after Alex Scott worked her way down the right before finding Yankey who curled in a left foot shot, Lianne Sanderson tried to divert the ball goalwards and deceived Cederkvist, the ball bouncing into the net despite Gitte Andersen's attempt to clear.
Andersen then made an important interception to deny Sanderson from Julie Fleeting's low cross. Brondby tried to hit back with Cathrine Sorensen firing over the bar but Arsenal's most dangerous opponent seemed to be the referee who gave a string of baffling decisions including harsh yellow cards for Yankey and Fleeting.
Carney was narrowly off target with an inswinging free kick but Arsenal would have been satisfied with their one-goal advantage at the interval.
Stine Kjaer Larsen fired a 20-yard volley straight at Emma Byrne early in the second half but Arsenal were to go two goals ahead shortly afterwards. Katie Chapman picked out Yankey on the left where she made her way to the area before sliding the ball into the path of an unmarked Carney, who showed great composure in tucking the ball home past Cederkvist.
A minute later, Yankey once again tore past a beleagured Bettina Hansen and her cross was headed just wide by Fleeting as Arsenal threatened to take complete control of the match.
Brondby were now committed to throwing players forward with Larsen hitting the side netting with an angled drive and Sorensen shooting straight at Byrne from six yards from Hansen's low cross but the Arsenal defence, with Ciara Grant and Anita Asante in outstanding form, made sure that the Brondby attack was kept at bay.
Andersen saw a long range effort held by Byrne but Arsenal were still comfortable and sought a third goal to put matters beyond doubt. A fine passing move involving Ludlow, Gemma Davison and Sanderson culminated with Fleeting's shot being saved and Cederkvist was again called into action with a low save from Yankey's drive.
Byrne made a good save from Maiken Pape's header but the game was up for Brondby and Arsenal rounded off a memorable day as the game went into injury time. After some good work on the right by Davison, Ludlow's 25-yard shot hit the bar and bounced on the line but the predatory Fleeting was on hand to head home the rebound and start off the lengthy Arsenal celebrations.
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Alex Scott, Mary Phillip, Jayne Ludlow, Ciara Grant, Anita Asante, Karen Carney (sub Gemma Davison 80), Katie Chapman, Lianne Sanderson, Julie Fleeting, Rachel Yankey. Subs not used: Amy Pearce, Cori Daniels, Sian Larkin, Charlotte Gurr, Lizzie Wicks, Danielle Buet.
Brondby: Tine Cederkvist, Bettina Hansen, Julie Bukh, Gitte Andersen, Mia Olsen, Anne Dot Eggers Nielsen, Lene Jensen (sub Mette Konge 66), Cathrine Sorensen, Stine Kjaer Larsen, Maiken Pape, Kicki Nielsen (sub Marianne Lovendorf 66). Subs not used: Vinberg Petersen, Freja Sonder, Vedel Pedersen, Kristina Kragh.
Photo - Rachel Yankey is congratulated by Lianne Sanderson and Katie Chapman after scoring the first goal (www.jamesprickett.co.uk)
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