Twice European champions VfL Wolfsburg let a two-goal lead slip at home against Arsenal as the English side fought back valiantly to earn a 2-2 draw in the first leg of their Women’s Champions League semi-final on Sunday.
Ewa Pajor and Sveindis Jane Jonsdottir gave the home side a 2-0 lead inside the first half hour but Arsenal reduced the deficit on the stroke of halftime before Stina Blackstenius levelled the tie in the second half.
The comeback will give Arsenal a boost ahead of the second leg at Emirates Stadium on May 1 after the Londoners, who have been decimated by injuries, lost captain Kim Little and Leah Williamson to season-ending injuries earlier this week.
“Days like today make me even more proud to be a part of this group. Unbelievable result to get back from 2-0 down,” said Arsenal defender Jen Beattie, who was player of the match.
“I genuinely cannot wait to get back to the Emirates next week and see all our fans.”
Wolfsburg took the lead in the 19th minute when Jonsdottir chested down a lob and spotted Pajor making a run in behind the defence, finding the Polish striker with a clinical through-ball for her to fire home.
Just as Arsenal looked to recover from the blow, the German team doubled the lead five minutes later thanks to a wayward pass from the London club as it attempted to play out from the back.
Rafaelle Souza’s attempted pass back inside the box did not find her team mate Jen Beattie and Jonsdottir’s eyes lit up as the ball fell at her feet, allowing the Icelandic player to beat the keeper.
The Arsenal defender made up for the error when she timed her leap well to head home a corner with enough power at the back post to give the visitor a lifeline.
Arsenal levelled the game in the second half when Victoria Pelova received the ball behind the defence on the right flank and the Dutchwoman only had to cross the ball into the box where Blackstenius was on hand for a simple tap-in.
Former Arsenal midfielder Jill Roord nearly made it 3-2 for Wolfsburg late in the game but she dragged her shot inches wide of the far post as Arsenal managed to cling on for the draw ahead of the second leg at Emirates Stadium on May 1.
In the other semi-final, Barcelona edged Chelsea 1-0 in the first leg at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
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