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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan at Molineux Stadium

Arsenal's Blackstenius stuns Blues to win League Cup with late extra-time winner

Action from Arsen al v Chelsea Picture by Paul Lagan
Action from Arsen al v Chelsea Picture by Paul Lagan

By Paul Lagan at Molineux Stadium

Arsenal 1 v Chelsea 0 (AET)

21, 462

Emma Stina Blackstenius won the women's league cup for Arsenal with a late extra-time goal as the Blues ran out of puff at Molineux this afternoon.

There was little to choose between the sides, but the north Londoners' greater patience, style and finally clinical edge put paid to the Blues' attempt at quadruple.

Arsenal will also be worrying about Frida Maanum who collapsed on the pitch in normal time and after 10 minutes of attention was stretchered off.

The Gooners said that she was conscious, talking and in a stable condition.

Chelsea starred the brighter, retaining better possession.

The Blues weren't going anywhere in particular as Arsenal's deep 4;4;2 keep the west Londoner' at bay.

Chelsea needed to be careful not to lose the ball in the key final third, where the north Londoners had the pace and power to quickly counter-attack.

A magical piece of trickery by Lauren James on eight minutes forced Manuela Zinsberger to a quick, and decisive block on her near left post, pushing the venomous shot away for a corner.

James had a shout for a penalty on 12 minutes ignored by referee Cheryl Foster.

Cloe Lacasse tried her arm from long range, but her left-footer went high and wide of Hannah Hampton's goal.

Arsenal then had a period of sustained pressure, created by the intensity in which they snatched the ball back once they had lost it.

Then, on 21 minutes a blinding piece of individual skill saw the Blues take the lead through Mayra Ramirez, who tucked the ball away from range.

But VAR had a look and decided that Erin Cuthbert had controlled then ball with her arm, and rightly disallowed it.

Lacasse had an angled left-footer on target on 28 minutes, but Hampton was equal to the task an snaffled the ball at her near post.

Hampton then produced an excellent fingertip over the crossbar save to thwart a long-range Katie McCabe effort.

Arsenal replaced Leah Williamson with Laia Codina at half-time, Chelsea were unchanged.

A good beak on 50 minutes saw Melanie |Leupolz smash a left-footer towards the goal, sadly for her it was too high and went over the crossbar.

Jam entered Foster's book two minutes later for a latish challenge on Codina.

Chelsea exerted a bit of pressure, forcing corners and free-kicks that put Arsenal on the back foot but the Blues could not break the red wall down.

The balance if play then changed again in this see-saw final.

A quick break by the Gooners saw Victoria Pelova break free but a fine block by Hampton prevented the first goal on 66 minutes.

Off came Lacasse for Caitlin Foord on 72 minutes.

Chelsea responded by bringing on Guro Reiten for Mayra Ramirez on 75 minutes.

Steph Catley replaced Beth Mead with six minutes left on the clock.

Zinsberger just managed to get her leg to a goal-bound angled James breakaway a minute later as the tiring sides sought out a cup final winner.

But Arsenal were finishing stringer and on top.

Second half skipper Cuthbert was given a yellow card on the stroke of 90 minutes for a lunger of a tackle.

Maanum collapsed onto the pitch and the paramedics raced on to treat her.

The game was held up for 10 minutes before she was stretchered off by paramedics.

Alessia Russo came on as a result.

Arsenal continued their dominance of the ball with the Blues looking like they were running on fumes.

Russo had a long-rage effort that was well held by Hampton.

Striker Catarina Macario replaced Sjoeke Nusken seven minutes into added time.

Arsenal brought on Kyra Cooney-Cross for McCabe as the second period of extra-time started.

Emma Stina Blackstenius had a good chance seconds into the game but blasted widely high.

Arsenal's counter-attacking play certainly looked the more impressive to Chelsea's attempt to conserve energy and play a slower build-up style.

One or the other will end up deciding the match.

And so it happened with five minutes left on the clock.

The ball broke free on the left it was brought inside and fell to Blackstenius and she prodded home through a phalanx of Chelsea players to put the Gooners 1-0 up.

Hayes brought on some pace in Aggie Beever-Jones – James was replaced.

Teams: Arsenal: Zinsberger, Fox, Wubben-Moy, Williamson, Mead, Maanum, Pelova, Lacasse, Blackstenius

Subs: D'Angelo, Williams, Catley, Foord, Russo, Wienroither, Codina, Cooney-Cross, V.Lia

Chelsea: Hampton, Nusken, Carter, Leupolz, James, Perisset, Kaneryd, Charles, Cuthbert, Buchanan, Ramirez

Subs: Berger, Musovic, Ingle, Macario, Reiten, Lawrence, Kirby, Hamano, Beever-Jones

Referee: Cheryl Foster.


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