Matildas stars Caitlin Foord and Steph Catley have moved closer to a place in the Women’s Champions League knockout stage after helping Arsenal beat Juventus 1-0 in London.
Vivianne Miedema’s fine streak continued, an excellent 16th-minute finish at the Emirates Stadium was her third consecutive goal since returning from a short break in Adelaide and was enough to keep Jonas Eidevall’s side in head of Group C.
A hard-fought win over Australian Joe Montemurro’s side meant a point at home for defending champions Lyon, who beat FC Zurich 4-0 to move past second-placed Juve. Next week, the England team will qualify for the last eight of Europe’s elite competition. .
Elsewhere, Bayern Munich cruised to a 3-1 win at home against last season’s beaten finalists Barcelona to trail them only on goal difference at the top of Group D, while Matildas goalkeeper Teagan Micah conceded three times before being replaced after a collision with opposing striker Cloe Lacasse. in FC Rosengaard’s 3-1 loss to Benfica.
Euro 2022 winner Leah Williamson was back in Arsenal’s starting line-up after recovering from a three-month absence with a foot injury.
The captain almost saw the Italians take an early lead through Arianna Caruso, but the hosts settled into their rhythm and only the offside flag denied Stina Blackstenius a goal in the 12th minute.
Juventus’ abandonment didn’t last long, however, with the Gunners taking the lead four minutes later through their in-form Dutch striker.
After Williamson had chosen Blackstenius on the right, the Swedish striker’s cross was missed by former Arsenal keeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin and Miedema was on hand to fire home for the first time into the empty net.
Foord saw a long-range strike parried wide, while Blackstenius and Lottie Wubben-Moy also came close before half-time to ensure Arsenal’s advantage remained at one for the interval.
Juventus came out with better intentions after the break but it was the home side who continued to create the better chances with Foord denied by Peyraud-Magnin.
Former Arsenal boss Montemurro saw his side keep pushing for a leveler, but the best they could muster was the hopeful long-term efforts of Lisa Boattin and Julia Grosso, before the blow franc from Valentina Cernoia does not land on the roof of the net.
It meant Arsenal retained three vital points and will advance to the quarter-finals with a draw at home to Lyon next week.