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Tough start for WSL duo
 Women's Football UEFA Women's Champions League - 9 Oct 2021
 
History was made in the UEFA Women's Champions League this week as, for the first time, the last sixteen teams played in a group stage with the opening round of matches, but it wasn't to be the greatest of starts for the two FA WSL clubs involved.
 
Arsenal were first in action on Tuesday night with a tough trip to holders FC Barcelona and this proved to be the case as they were beaten 4-1. WSL clubs have struggled against Spanish clubs in recent seasons and this record continued as a superb Barcelona side went two ahead at the interval, Mariona Caldentey and Alexis Putellas both scoring, and Asisat Oshoala made it three against her former club after the break. Frida Maanum did pull a goal back for Arsenal but substitute Lieke Martens sealed an impressive win with the final goal, six minutes from time.
 
The other group match saw Hoffenheim win 5-0 against HB Koge, Tine De Caigny scoring twice with the others coming from Katharina Naschenweng, Nicole Billa and Luana Buhler.
 
Chelsea opened up against familiar opponents in VfL Wolfsburg and a dramatic fightback from two behind saw them pick up a 3-3 draw. Sam Kerr's early goal was cancelled out by Tabea Wassmuth and Jill Roord put Die Wolfe ahead at the break. Wassmuth then put Chelsea in trouble with her second goal but Beth England responded immediately and increasing Chelsea pressure saw them salvage a point in injury time when Pernille Harder equalised against her former club.
 
Juventus are the early leaders of Group A after they won 3-0 away to Servette. Arianna Caruso gave Juve a first half lead and they went on to crown the win with further goals after the break from Lina Hurtig and Valentina Cernoia.
 
Elsewhere, the big story of the night came in Olympique Lyonnais' 3-0 win away to Hacken, with the late appearance of substitute Ada Hegerberg, the former Ballon D'Or winner making her comeback following 20 months out of action with a knee injury. Melvine Malard and Catarina Macario both scored for Lyon along with an own goal. Lyon are the opening day leaders in Group D after the other match between Benfica and Bayern Munich ended in a goalless draw.
 
Paris Saint Germain have got off to a good start in Group B, winning 2-0 away to Breidablik. Lea Khelifi put PSG in front in the seventeenth minute and they sealed the points late on when Grace Geyoro added the second goal. The other game in the group also resulted in an away win, Real Madrid beating Kharkiv 1-0 thanks to a goal shortly before half time from Loreno Navarro.
 
Matchday 2 in the group stages takes place next week, with Chelsea playing away to Juventus on Wednesday night and Arsenal playing host to Hoffenheim the following night. Both matches are 8pm kick offs.
 

 
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