Arsenal Ladies will take a slender lead to Germany next week after goals from Katie Chapman and Ellen White gave them a 2-1 win over FFC Turbine Potsdam at Meadow Park yesterday.
The Gunners were 2-0 up in the first leg of this Champions League last-16 tie but Yuki Ogimi’s stunning 90th-minute away goal could yet prove crucial in the tie.
Potsdam started well and went close when Antonia Goransson fired just over after a good run. Soon after she tested Emma Byrne with a shot from the edge of the box but the Arsenal goalkeeper saved comfortably.
The visitors suffered a blow a few minutes later when Natasha Andonova was stretchered off with a serious-looking injury.
Arsenal responded and almost took the lead themselves when Gemma Davison found Alex Scott, whose 30-yard thunderbolt narrowly missed the target.
The hosts had a golden chance moments later when Chapman played in Rachel Yankey down the left. Her cross found Kelly Smith unmarked but the England international could only blaze over from five yards with the goal gaping.
Arsenal thought they should have had a penalty in the 26th minute when Jordan Nobbs appeared to be fouled by goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher but the referee waved away the appeals.
In the 35th minute Smith was fouled about 25 yards out but her free-kick was easily gathered by Naeher.
Five minutes from the interval, the Gunners gifted Potsdam another chance when Nobbs’ back pass sold Byrne short but Patricia Hanebeck could only loft a poor effort onto the roof of the net when she should have done better.
Arsenal started the second half well and could have taken the lead when Davison found Kim Little in the box but the Scotland international couldn’t adjust her feet quick enough and the chance was gone.
Five minutes later the roles were reversed when Little played Davison in but she could only drag her shot wide from 12 yards.
More great work from the excellent Davison moments later allowed Yankey to find Nobbs but she also missed the target when well placed.
Arsenal were finally rewarded for their second-half dominance with 20 minutes remaining when Yankey’s corner was expertly flicked in by Chapman.
Davison was causing Potsdam’s defence all sorts of problems and created another opportunity moments later. She beat the full-back down the right but her cross was glanced over by Jennifer Beattie from the edge of the six-yard box.
Despite being second-best for much of the half, the visitors almost snatched an equaliser with ten minutes left when Keelin Winters and Lisa Evans both had shots cleared off the line during a frantic goalmouth scramble.
They were made to pay moments later when Little found substitute White in the box and the England striker calmly slotted home from ten yards.
Arsenal appeared to be comfortably seeing out the win but a moment of brilliance from Ogimi changed the tie completely.
With stoppage time approaching, the Potsdam captain received the ball on the edge of the box, flicked it up and volleyed an unstoppable shot over Byrne and into the net.
The second leg will be held in Potsdam on Wednesday at 5pm UK time.