Arsenal qualified for the Champions League quarter-finals despite losing 1-0 to Lyon on a bittersweet night which also saw Vivianne Miedema stretchered off in tears.
Frida Maanum’s own goal just before half-time was enough to give eight-times winners Lyon victory but it is the injury to Miedema which will be of most concern to Group C leaders Arsenal, who needed only to avoid a four-goal defeat to qualify.
The WSL’s all-time leading goalscorer was attended to by medical staff for several minutes in stoppage time at the end of the first half before being taken off with her leg fully strapped up.
“She was in a lot of distress,” Rachel Corsie, who was watching for Sky Sports News, said. “It looks to be a bad one.”
Eidevall ‘very concerned’ by injury
Miedema, 26, had scored in her last four consecutive matches before Thursday, having recently returned from a leave of absence to “rest and recharge”.
Arsenal are already without England striker Beth Mead after the Ballon d’Or runner-up ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament.
Speaking immediately after the match, head coach Jonas Eidevall said he “did not know” how bad the injury was.
“I don’t have any updates but right now that takes a lot of my thoughts,” he added. “I’m very concerned over that, but we had to stay focused on the game.
“After the game we are concerned but [at half-time] we are super professional, we don’t let anything take away our focus from what we are doing.”
Disappointing night despite qualification
Lyon had started brightly with Delphine Cascarino looking to stretch the home backline but Arsenal went close from a corner in the 24th minute when Lotte Wubben-Moy headed over.
The Gunners pressed again towards the end of the first half as Katie McCabe’s cross towards the back post was just too far in front of Caitlin Foord.
Lyon took the lead in first-half stoppage time when a deep free-kick into the Arsenal penalty area was nodded across the six-yard box by Cascarino and Maanum diverted the ball into the net for an own goal.
Things got worse for Arsenal before the break when Miedema went down with what looked to be a serious knee injury after landing awkwardly as she challenged for a loose ball.
Brazilian defender Rafaelle Souza came on to replace Miedema for the second half, with England captain Leah Williamson pushing up into a midfield role.
Arsenal made a positive start as McCabe got into the right side of the penalty area and fired in a low, angled drive which Lyon goalkeeper Christiane Endler held at her near post.
At the other end, Lyon substitute Eugenie Le Sommer fired a cutback from Cascarino straight at Arsenal ‘keeper Manuela Zinsberger.
It’s a knockout!
Arsenal, winners in 2007, are through to their 15th Champions League quarter-final.
The Gunners continued to press for an equaliser but were unable to open up a determined Lyon defensive line.
In the final minute, Lina Hurtig saw her shot cleared off the line following a corner, with Lyon ‘keeper Endler then making an important save down at her near post from Stina Blackstenius’ follow-up effort.
Arsenal will qualify as Group C winners if they avoid defeat to Zurich next week and Juventus either beat Lyon or draw. If Lyon beat Juventus, Arsenal will also need to win against Zurich to go through as group winners.
Leave a Reply