1992 days after Arsenal Women last played in the UEFA Women’s Champions League, the gunners produced a crushing display to take a four-goal lead into the second leg in their Round of 32 tie.
From the opening whistle, Arsenal looked to overwhelm a defensive Fiorentina side with narrow attacking play and the home team could not cope with the pressure. It took until the 18th minute for Arsenal to break the deadlock with a 12 pass move culminating in a defence-splitting pass from Kim Little and a typical short-range finish from Vivianne Miedema.
Twelve minutes later, the Gunners doubled their lead when provider and scorer swapped places from the opening goal as the Scottish international got in behind the defence after a one-two with her Dutch teammate.
After the break, Arsenal continued where they left off with two goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
Firstly, after a short back pass from the Italian defence, Miedema rounded the ‘keeper for her second goal of the game and then the Gunners made it 4-0 when an overload in midfield left Lisa Evans at the back post to volley home a deflected Beth Mead cross.
Fiorentina managed to break on a few occasions throughout the match but never really posed a threat to the English side’s defence and there was little to suggest that Antonio Cincotta, coach of the home side, was wrong in his pre-match interview that this tie would be ‘two nights of pain’ for his team.
Last season’s Women’s Super League-winning side took their foot off the pedal in the second half and managed to rest Miedema for the last half-hour of the game, allowing some vital minutes for Jordan Nobbs who almost capped off the night with a fifth goal but headed wide from close range.
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