HB Køge Women 1 – 5 Arsenal Women

Arsenal strengthened their hold on second place in Women’s Champions League Group C with a 5-1 win at Danish side HB Koge.

After Nikita Parris saw an early penalty saved by Kaylan Marckese (16), Australian Steph Catley started the rout with a measured free-kick from 20 yards (27), the first of five different scorers.

Arsenal got their second through Parris, reacting in the box to shoot low through a crowd (63), and Caitlin Foord got their third just six minutes later, heading home after Jordan Nobbs had hit the bar (69).

Koge got their first-ever Champions League goal as Madalyn Pokorny feasted on some woeful Arsenal defending (71), before sub Anna Patten (85) and Nobbs’ excellent finish (89) rounded off the victory.

Arsenal have now scored 45 goals in just 15 games this season, scoring four or more goals in a game for the ninth time.

How Arsenal took control in Denmark

HB Koge, in their debut Champions League season, kept Barcelona out for an hour in their previous group game, but Arsenal got their scoring under way early in Denmark.

They were awarded a penalty on 16 minutes as Parris was brought down by Cecilie Floe as she moved away from goal, but after dusting herself down, Parris saw her spot-kick brilliant tipped away by Marckese.

Vivianne Miedema saw her header superbly saved again by Marckese shortly after, but the busy goalkeeper was finally beaten on 27 minutes as Catley struck a fine free-kick into the top right corner from the edge of the box.

Arsenal had plenty of chances to double their lead before the break – Leah Williamson missed two opportunities while Frida Leonhardsen-Maanum also struck wide – with the hosts failing to get a shot on goal in the first half and registering just 21 per cent possession.

Catley scores Arsenal's opener with a fine free-kick
Image:
Catley scores Arsenal’s opener with a fine free-kick

Arsenal continued their dominance after the break as Marckese denied Miedema twice in the space of five minutes, but she couldn’t keep out Parris, who made up for the earlier penalty miss with a turn and shot through a busy penalty area as Koge failed to clear.

Foord got her first European goal to put Arsenal 3-0 up, heading home on the rebound after Nobbs had struck the crossbar with a superb effort from the edge of the box.

But some worrying defending from Catley and Simone Boye Sorensen gave Koge something to cheer about, failing to clear twice as Pokorny stole in and slotted under Lydia Williams. It was Koge’s only shot on target in the game.

Arsenal turned it on again to see out the game positively; sub Patten looped an effort into the far corner after fine work from Foord on the left for 4-1, before Nobbs got the final goal of the game with the best finish of the contest, striking fiercely into the bottom corner from Beth Mead’s lay up.

Analysis: Arsenal showed patience

Rachel Yankey on Sky Sports News

“A very good win, and Arsenal will be really happy.

“Arsenal have been able to rotate the squad, use players that haven’t had many minutes, he’s not had any injuries it seems. There will be plenty trying to impress ahead of the FA Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley on December 5.

“There was good character and patience from the team. I would think they’ll get through this group now, and obviously Barcelona are the biggest test. The home match against them will be a different challenge.”

What’s next?

Arsenal now go to Tottenham at 1.30pm on Saturday in the WSL, before hosting HB Koge on November 17 at 8pm in the Champions League.

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