Arsenal were left frustrated by former boss Joe Montemurro’s Juventus, as they were held to a 1-1 draw at the Allianz Stadium on Thursday evening.
Vivianne Miedema’s header cancelled out Lineth Beerensteyn’s opener as a spirited Juventus maintained their unbeaten start to the group stages. Arsenal remain in the driving seat to qualify for the Champions League quarter finals as group winners despite the dropped points.
With a swathe of injuries to key first team players, the Gunners set up in a new-look 4-2-3-1 formation, with two sitting midfielders and Jordan Nobbs deployed on the right wing.
Despite the new system, Arsenal dominated for large periods of the first half and were unfortunate to not be ahead at the break, Stina Backstenius coming oh so close to breaking the deadlock on three occasions.
Having enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, the Arsenal forward saw her side’s first clear sighting of goal midway through the first period, but clipped the bar after being superbly picked out by Frida Maanum.
Blackstenius was again sent scurrying through on goal by an excellent Maanum pass, but this time the Arsenal forward was denied by Pauline Peyraud Magnin, who was off her goal line quickly to block with her legs.
A stretching Blackstenius was then a whisker away from giving the Gunners the lead, but couldn’t quite make contact as Caitlin Foord’s wicked delivery flashed across the face of goal.
Juventus had shown flashes of quality on the counter attack, and had their clearest sighting of goal on the stroke of half time, as Barbara Bonansea crossed for Arianna Caruso, who headed just wide.
Peyraud Magnin was busy again in the second half, palming away a Foord effort at the near post after the Arsenal winger had been picked out by Jordan Nobbs.
The Gunners continued to push for the opener, Lotte Wubben-Moy seeing a header cleared off the line by Lisa Boattin. It proved to be a crucial intervention as, moments later, Juventus took the lead. Beerensteyn latched onto a superb pass from Cristiana Girelli, burst past the Arsenal backline and finished coolly.
Arsenal levelled on the hour mark, Miedema ending her uncharacteristic run of six games without a goal by rising highest to head home Maanum’s corner.
The forward almost netted a second after creating an opening for herself with some trademark quick feet, but fired narrowly over.
Peyraud Magnin popped up with a crucial stop with her feet in stoppage time to keep out Foord as Juventus dug in to hold on to a point.
GK: Pauline Peyraud Magnin – 7/10 – Really busy and impressive in the first half; raced from her goal to thwart Blackstenius, blocked a McCabe effort from a set piece and again denied Blackstenius with an excellent stop with her legs. In action again in the second half to deny Foord.
RB: Martina Lenzini – 6/10 – Given the slip once by Foord in the first half, and had a really good battle with the Arsenal winger.
CB: Martina Rosucci – 8/10 – Made an important, stretching interception to cut out a Blackstenius cross in the second half, and bravely blocked a goal-bound Foord effort with her head. A huge defensive display.
CB: Cecilia Salvai – 7/10 – Blocked a stinging Miedema effort in the first half and helped Juventus frustrate the Arsenal forward line.
LB: Lisa Boattin – 7/10 – Superbly cleared a Wubben-Moy header off the line just moments before her side took the lead. Put in a big defensive shift.
CM: Sofie Junge Pedersen – 7/10 – Put in a huge shift in midfield, bursting with energy until minute 90 and covering every blade of grass.
CM: Arianna Caruso (82′ for Bonfantini) – 5/10 – Headed Juventus’ best sighting of goal in the first half narrowly wide, and otherwise didn’t have a huge impact on proceedings.
CM: Julia Grosso – 7/10 – Not close enough to Miedema for the Arsenal equaliser, losing out in the air to the Arsenal forward. Otherwise broke up play well and knocked the ball around nicely.
RW: Barbara Bonansea (82′ Cantore) – 5/10 – Provided a pinpoint cross onto the head of Caruso for Juventus’ best opportunity of the first half. Otherwise kept pretty quiet by McCabe.
ST: Cristiana Girelli – 7/10 – Saw two goal-bound efforts blocked in quick succession by Wubben-Moy and Catley in the first half. Won back possession and played a fabulous through ball for Juventus’ opener.
LW: Lineth Beerensteyn (90′ for Duljan) – 8/10 – Had one of Juventus’ brightest moment of the first half, riding two Arsenal challenges as she scurried into the box to win a corner. Opened the scoring with a terrific turn of pace and cool finish, and was Juventus’ most dangerous attacking player.
SUB: Sofia Cantore (82′ for Bonansea) – 6/10
SUB: Agnese Bonfantini (82′ for Caruso) – 6/10
SUB: Evelina Duljan (90′ for Beerensteyn) – N/A
GK: Manuela Zinsberger – 6/10 – Not called into action particularly frequently and couldn’t do a great deal about the Juventus opener.
RB: Laura Wienroither (79′ for Maritz) – 5/10 – Beaten for pace by Beerensteyn as she burst past the Gunners backline for Juventus’ opener. Had a bit of a difficult time of it against the lively Juventus winger. Forced off with injury in the second half.
CB: Lotte Wubben-Moy – 6/10 – Blocked a goal-bound Girelli effort in the opening 45, almost broke the deadlock from a corner but saw a header cleared off the line. Cut open by Girelli’s pass for the Juventus opener.
CB: Steph Catley – 6/10 – In the way of a Girelli strike in the first half, a constant danger with her deliveries from corners. Moved to left back following the introduction of Beattie.
LB: Katie McCabe – 6/10 – Beaten once in the first half but otherwise largely solid. Moved to the right wing following Beattie’s introduction.
CM: Lia Walti – 7/10 – Lost out to Girelli in the middle of the park in the buildup to the Juventus opener – the one blot on an otherwise cool, composed performance.
CM: Frida Maanum – 8/10 – Sent Blackstenius through on goal with a pair of exquisite passes in the first half. Provided the corner delivery from which Arsenal levelled.
RM: Jordan Nobbs (64′ for Beattie) – 5/10 – Played a superb cross for Foord early in the second half and full of energy, but was the player to suffer in Arsenal’s formation change, unable to really make her mark on the game in not her preferred position.
AM: Vivianne Miedema – 7/10 – Making her first start for a month, saw a fizzing strike from the edge of the box blocked in the first half. Rose highest to head home Arsenal’s equaliser, and so close to adding a second after producing some fabulous feet.
LM: Caitlin Foord – 6/10 – Provided a teasing delivery across the face of goal that was so close to being buried in the first half, kept out at the near post in the second half by Peyraud Magnin.
ST: Stina Blackstenius – 6/10 – Could have had a first half hat-trick but was denied by the bar and a Peyraud Magnin stop, before not being able to stretch far enough to poke home a Foord cross.
SUB: Jen Beattie (64′ for Nobbs) – 6/10
SUB: Noelle Maritz (79′ for Wienroither) – 6/10
Player of the match: Lineth Beerensteyn (Juventus)