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There was relief for 1. FFC Frankfurt forward Ana Maria Crnogorčević after their 2-1 win at Arsenal LFC in the first leg of their UEFA Women's Champions League semi-final. Crnogorčević's opener was cancelled out quickly by Ciara Grant only for Kerstin Garefrekes to strike deep in added time. That goal was "gut-wrenching" for Arsenal manager Laura Harvey but she and converted midfielder Stephanie Houghton remain hopeful with Saturday's return to come.
Ana Maria Crnogorčević, Frankfurt forward
I'm happy we won 2-1. It was hard for us. The first ten or 20 minutes, Arsenal were really good. They had good chances to score. The second half was better and we scored, but after the goal we had a lot of problems and they made it 1-1. So I'm happy we made it 2-1 in the last minute, it's good for us ahead of the second leg next Saturday. I'm happy to have scored, it's my third goal in the Champions League.
It's the first time we have won away [in Europe this season]. But as far as we are concerned the second game starts 0-0, we want to then go to Munich [for the final]. It's a new game, we have to win again, which is hard. Arsenal are really good, they played well, they have good players and they can beat us. We must play like today.
Laura Harvey, Arsenal manager
We played really well in the first half, the only negative was we didn't take our chances. Second half we knew Frankfurt would come out stronger; they did, but we weathered that storm a little bit. I'm disappointed with the goal, I thought we were on top at that stage, but then credit to the players that they fought back and I thought we deserved the goal at the time.
We could have scored more, and then it's just gut-wrenching to concede so late in the game in the manner that we did with such a sloppy goal. It's disappointing but there's positives we can take from it; if we go to Frankfurt and play like we did today then we've got a chance of scoring goals and hopefully being able to turn the tie around.
We said before the game we had to show how far we've come in 12 months. We believe we've come far, we just have to prove that. I think we did prove that. Frankfurt didn't expect us to be potentially as good as we were, and we know we have a good group of players here and a spirit that is something that can't be matched really, in this country especially, and we had to go and prove that in the Champions League. I think in stages we did that, but we've let ourselves down with the goals we conceded and not taking our chances.
Stephanie Houghton, Arsenal midfielder
It was really high tempo, I think it was really competitive. To be honest, in the first half we were the better team. Obviously Frankfurt came into it a little bit more in the second half, we went a goal down and we did really well to bring it back to 1-1. It's really disappointing we let them score in the last minute but I'm sure the girls will want to put that right on Saturday. So we'll get our heads up and look forward to the game on Saturday in Frankfurt.
Our manager always tells us now we're in a better position than 12 months ago. We've added more players to the squad, we're more experienced as a team. When we played Lyon last year [in the semi-finals] it was a really tough challenge against a really, really good team, but today we held our own against Frankfurt. We've just got to take the positives out of the game knowing we took it to them, we created chances. We shouldn't fear them in the next leg and go and play them the Arsenal way.
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