Champions League

Ajax 0-1 Arsenal (2-3 Agg): Gunners qualify for UWCL group stage

Jamie Spencer
Arsenal got the job done in Amsterdam
Arsenal got the job done in Amsterdam / ANP/GettyImages

Arsenal secured their place in the Women’s Champions League group stage for the second season in a row thanks to a single Vivianne Miedema goal in the second leg of their final qualifying round tie against Ajax in Amsterdam.

The Gunners, who will now play all of their Champions League game this season at the Emirates Stadium, had been held to a 2-2 draw in the first leg at Meadow Park and faced a potentially difficult task against the Dutch side, despite remaining favourites to progress overall.

A bizarre problem with uneven goalposts was an unnecessary addition to the drama of the night, with match officials forced to take measurements and carry out adjustments on the equipment to make sure they were in compliance with regulations.

Arsenal were not at their best on the night and Ajax showed themselves to be a threat in the first half when the aggregate score was still level. The Gunners also had chances for Stina Blackstenius and eventual matchwinner Miedema, but could not take them.

Miedema’s decisive goal came a few minutes after half-time, firing into the bottom corner.

Ajax did increase the pressure in the closing stages in search of an equaliser that would have forced extra-time, but were unable to make it count.

The downside from the contest saw Beth Mead and Rafaelle Souza succumb to facial and ankle injuries respectively and withdrawn before the end. But while both will be in international action, Arsenal don't now have another fixture until 16 October.

Arsenal join Chelsea as the WSL representatives in the Champions League group stage, with Manchester City knocked out by Real Madrid in an earlier qualifying round.

Last season, the Gunners were the only English side to reach the knockout stages, eventually eliminated by Wolfsburg in the quarter-finals, after Chelsea had surprisingly failed to make it through the group stage.

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