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Spirited Arsenal outgun rivals

Arsenal LFC became the first team from outside Germany and Scandinavia to reach the UEFA Women's Cup final in 2006/07 – and they promptly lifted the trophy.

Spirited Arsenal outgun rivals

Arsenal LFC became the first team from outside Germany and Scandinavia to reach the UEFA Women's Cup final in 2006/07 – and they promptly lifted the trophy.

Arsenal LFC became the first team from outside Germany and Scandinavia to reach the UEFA Women's Cup final in 2006/07 – and they promptly lifted the trophy.

Clear outsiders against two-time winners Umeå IK in the decider, Arsenal travelled to a windy Sweden for the first leg and withstood a Marta-inspired onslaught before grabbing a last-gasp 1-0 win with Alex Scott's long-range effort. Umeå gave all they could in the return a week later, striking the woodwork more than once in Borehamwood, but Arsenal held on to their aggregate lead.

The two qualifying rounds passed without any major surprises, but that changed in the quarter-finals. Holders 1. FFC Frankfurt lost the first leg of their tie 2-1 at Kolbotn IL in Norway, but although the reigning champions scored three times without reply in the first hour of the return, Solveig Gulbrandsen and Isabell Herlovsen struck within 60 seconds midway through the second half and the visitors prevailed on away goals. But that was not the only trauma for Germany, as national champions Potsdam lost 3-0 at Brøndby IF and could only win the return 2-1 to ensure the Frauen Bundesliga had no European semi-finalists for the first time.

There was less drama in the other two last-eight ties, as Arsenal overcame Iceland's Breidablik 9-1 having scored five unanswered goals in the away first leg, Julie Fleeting striking three times over the matches to add to her five in the 5-4 second qualifying round defeat of WFC Rossiyanka in Russia. Umeå defeated Dutch champions Saestum 6-1 away and 5-2 at home for an even more comfortable triumph. The Swedish champions continued on that track in the semi-finals, as a 5-1 win at Kolbotn made the second leg a formality, celebrated with a 6-0 triumph to become the first four-time finalists.

However, the other semi-final was still tight after the first game, as Kelly Smith scored twice for Arsenal at Brøndby only for the Danish side to equalise each time for a 2-2 draw. To increase Arsenal's frustration, star player Smith was sent off late on and given a three-match ban, but even without her Rachel Yankey, Karen Carney and Fleeting scored at Borehamwood to sent the Gunners into the final. They again missed Smith, but took the trophy anyway to celebrate their 20th birthday, all that time under the same manager, Vic Akers.

http://www.uefa.com/womenschampionsleague/history/season=2006/index.html#spirited+arsenal+outgun+rivals

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