After a nail-biting 3-3 draw in their Continental Cup group match on Wednesday night, Arsenal won on penalties against Spurs.
Spurs brought the fight to them, and they kept taking the lead, while Arsenal fought to come back into the game.
Despite the fact that many expected Arsenal, as good as they have been this season, to run riot over Spurs, their local rival’s attack gave them a run for their money. In the 17th minute, their in-form attacker, Martha Thomas, broke the deadlock with a stunning header in the six-yard area.
Stina Blackstenius equalized a minute later with a curling strike.The battle then proceeded.
Naz restored Spurs’ advantage in the 30th minute with a clinical finish. Frida Maanum equalized with a stunning goal from the middle of the box seven minutes after that to make it 2-2.
It was all square at half-time. However, three minutes into the second half, Naz restored Spurs’ lead with a beautiful finish into the bottom left corner.
Spurs led for a long time, but a free kick from Kyra Cooney-Cross was deflected to the back of the net in the 68th minute and the game ended 3-3.
Luckily the Gunners won 4-3 after scoring four of their five penalties. Caitlin Foord missed her penalty, while Alessia Russo, Beth Mead, Steph Catley, and Jen Beattie scored. Kit Graham and Jessica Naz missed penalties for Spurs, which cost them the extra point, leaving Arsenal to top the group.
Most people thought Arsenal weren’t playing their best; there were questions about their defense in the game. Although it is clear that Jonas Eidevall rotated his team extensively, Arsenal was not at full strength.
Nevertheless, the manager of Arsenal was impressed with how his team responded to their own mistakes and how they fought back and continued believing and going, resulting in the comeback victory.
“We got harshly punished on the mistakes that we made defensively, and football is like that sometimes. At the end of the day, us getting two points from this game, we’re investing a lot of game time into the whole squad, and we’re in a great position to advance now from the Conti Cup group stages,” said Eidevall via Arsenal.com.
“When you do mistakes, it’s how you react after that defines you, and you could see that both on an individual and team level. That’s very strong, and we don’t put our heads down. We keep believing; we keep going. That gave us a way back into the game.”
Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs will meet again in the WSL on Sunday at the Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium. What a game that will be! And with most of our first team being rested, we should expect a much better result this time…
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