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Women's Football News
Arsenal 4 (Beattie 53,78,90, Little 57) Barcelona 0
Arsenal cruised into the last 16 of the UEFA Women's Champions League with a comfortable win over Spanish champions Barcelona.
A second half hat-trick from half time substitute Jennifer Beattie and a further strike by Kim Little secured victory on the day, though Arsenal had already taken a big step to qualifying with last week's 3-0 win in the first leg. They now face a stiff challenge in the next round against German giants FFC Turbine Potsdam.
There were four changes to the team that secured the FA WSL title on Sunday, as Steph Houghton, Yvonne Tracy and Rachel Yankey all came into the side. They were joined by Kelly Smith, who returned to the starting line up after scoring in the victory against Doncaster Rovers Belles. She spearheaded an attack that was supported by Yankey and Gemma Davison.
The match itself started quietly, with Arsenal's neat build up play a feature, though encouraging attacking forays were extinguished by an inability to find the final pass. It took until sixteen minutes before either goalkeeper was tested, with Little's shot being easily gathered by Laura Rafols.
Then, just before the half hour mark, the Barcelona goalkeeper had to be on hand to superbly save Nobbs' powerful low shot, after Little had created the chance with an inch-perfect through ball. Davison then had an appeal for a penalty turned down, before Houghton's 25-yard free kick landed just over.
Despite the visitors needing goals at the start of the second half, it was Arsenal who started brightly, and were rewarded with the opening goal after 53 minutes.
Yankey swung in a deep free kick that was met by the head of Beattie, whose effort was too powerful for Rafols to keep out.
The lead was doubled just four minutes later, with Yankey again the architect. After escaping down the left flank, the winger's cross was met at the back post by the onrushing Little, who volleyed home.
Beattie could have extended the lead yet further, heading over from seven yards after fellow substitute Ellen White had found her with a peach of a cross.
Arsenal were rampant now, and after Little and Houghton had efforts well saved by Rafols, the home side added a third after 78 minutes. In scenes reminiscent of the first goal, Yankey delivered a deep cross that was headed in by Beattie.
The striker completed her hat-trick in stoppage time, tucking home a penalty after Ellen White had been brought down by Rafols in the area.
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Alex Scott, Yvonne Tracy, Steph Houghton, Ciara Grant, Katie Chapman, Gemma Davison (sub Ellen White 64mins), Jordan Nobbs, Kelly Smith (sub Jennifer Beattie 45mins), Kim Little (sub Danielle Carter 75mins), Rachel Yankey. Subs not used: Sophie Harris, Jayne Ludlow, Gilly Flaherty, Niamh Fahey.
Barcelona: Laura Rafols, Laura Gomez Gutierrez (sub Miriam Dieguez 64mins), Ana Maria Escribano, Melisa, Maria Losada, Kenti Robles, Marta Corredera, Virginia Torrecilla, Olga Garcia, Gema Gili (sub Laura Gutierrez 53mins), Alexia Putellas (sub Sonia 55mins). Subs not used: Esther Sullastres, Melanie Serrano, Marta Unzue Urdaniz, Carolina Ferez Mendez.
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