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Arsenal have been dumped out of the UEFA Women's Cup after suffering a 6-0 defeat at the hands of Umea IK in the second leg of their quarter final.
It was clear after just one minute that it was not going to be Arsenal's night in minus four degrees at Gammliavallen Stadium. After a 3-2 win against the Swedish champions just six days ago at Boreham Wood, a draw would have been enough to see Arsenal through to the semi final of Europe's elite women's football competition but it was simply not to be.
The match could not have started any worse for the Gunners with Marta Da Silva scoring inside the first minute. Niamh Fahey was caught off guard on the left wing, beaten by the immense power and speed of the Brazilian as well as her Swedish team mate Ramona Bachmann. The pair's one-two just inside Arsenal's box, and the low, powerful shot from Marta made its way between Emma Byrne's legs into the back of the net.
For the next 10 minutes, early shots were taken by any Arsenal player who saw a glimpse of the goal. However, none hit the target. Then in the 14th minute came a sign that the game just wasn't going to go Arsenal's way.
Karen Carney made a great run from just inside Umea's half keeping the ball close to her feet. The England midfielder's crafty footwork led her to just outside the box in the centre of the field and her beautifully taken shot chipped the keeper easily, only to hit the woodwork. The ball bounced to Kim Little just metres from goal, but the Swedish keeper parried Little's powerful shot. It returned straight back to the Scottish 18-year-old whose second shot went just wide.
Two great chances for Arsenal and their pressure continued for the next 15 minutes. The odd counter attack from Umea was stopped before a shot was produced. Arsenal hit the woodwork for a second time in the 30th minute after Jayne Ludlow headed the ball on to the bar from the edge of the area.
In the 33rd minute, Marta shot wide after beating Yvonne Tracy and going one-on-one with keeper Emma Byrne. However Umea looked to have sorted their troubles in defence when, in the 43rd minute, the Brazilian put the Swedes 2-0 in front. Byrne saved the first shot from Johanna Rasmussen but unfortunately, the ball dropped to the Brazilian who showed no problems in putting the ball in the back of the net just before the break.
Vic Akers made a substitution at the break with Julie Fleeting replacing Gemma Davison. Unfortunately, Umea started the first half exactly the same way as the first, with Marta completing her hat-trick the first minute of play. The disappointment continued as Hanna Ljungberg added her name to the scoresheet one minute later after twisting and turning her way through the Arsenal area to smash the ball pass Byrne.
Arsenal heads were low. The game was pretty much over. After two more substitutions for Arsenal, the 58th minute brought another goal for Umea taking their lead to five. Marta was simply too fast for the Gunners' defence even with Faye White giving the back four some fresh legs.
Although Arsenal never gave up, it was clear a miracle was needed to keep the Gunners in the competition. That miracle never came and Umea managed to pick up a sixth goal in the 72nd minute from a penalty. White tussled with Marta in the box, giving as hard as she got, only for Marta to fall to the floor. She picked herself up quickly, the referee played advantage, but Marta seemed to trip to the floor again. The whistle was blown, a yellow card was awarded to White and, surprisingly, Umea's goalkeeper made her way forward to score from the spot.
After the match, Arsenal manager Vic Akers admitted: "Sadly we never got out the stalls. We were overrun from minute one. The same as we did in London with our early goal in two minutes, Umea did the same in one minute. We were always up against it from that point. We tried to recover ourselves, but the keeper made two or three really important stops in the first half and then the game changed when we conceded again just before half-time, and immediately after half time. We were coming out to have a go but we found ourselves at 48 minutes, 4-0 down. The game's gone.
"But we obviously offer our congratulations to the Umea side. Let's hope they can go on to win it this year.
"It's disappointing obviously for me on a personal note. I go out [of managing the team] at the end of this year with a six-goal defeat. I finish at the end of this season and it's not the way I would have liked to gone out of this competition especially."
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