Jennifer Beattie grabbed a hat-trick after coming off the bench as Arsenal LFC ended FC Barcelona's debut UEFA Women's Champions League campaign – and then quickly shifted focus to the prospect of facing 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam in the round of 16.
Arsenal enjoyed a 3-0 lead going into the return leg despite having been second best to Barcelona early on in the first game – and the Spanish side showed more of the same spirit to keep things scoreless at the interval. Arsenal responded by sending on Beattie after the restart, however, and eight minutes later she headed in a free-kick from Rachel Yankey, who crossed for Kim Little to produce a brilliant volley for the second shortly afterwards.
Yankey made it a hat-trick of assists with 12 minutes left as her centre was met by another Beattie header. And it was Yankey who subsequently sent substitute Ellen White through in added time to be fouled by Barcelona goalkeeper Laura Rafols, who was beaten by Beattie from the spot.
Laura Harvey, Arsenal manager
[The 7-0 aggregate] probably flatters us a bit over the two legs. Barcelona are a good team, but we're pleased we've got through to the next round. With the amount of fixtures we've had, I'd have preferred an easier [tie] to be honest, but this was always going to be a tougher year for us from the fact we're still in our league programme whereas in previous years we've had a bit of a break. But that just shows the strength of the competition now. We've had Barcelona in this round, which is a tough tie, and Potsdam in the next round, which is unheard of for two teams so highly ranked to meet each other so early on.
It was always the plan [for Beattie to come off the bench]. She played really well in Barcelona last week and she deserved to start today. But with the backlog of fixtures we've got, we wanted to give Kelly [Smith] some minutes as she hadn't played for so long, but the plan was always to get her off at half-time and get Beattie on and she's shown what she can do. When teams are that little bit more tired, someone coming on like Beattie is a completely different challenge from someone like Kelly Smith. I'd always say to the opposition, "Don't make Rachel mad," and she was mad at half-time for loads of different reasons, frustration being one of them. And when Rachel Yankey's mad, that's when she's at her best. And in the second half, you saw the best stuff that 'Yanks' has to offer.
Jennifer Beattie, Arsenal striker
We knew coming into it they would be a tough side again as it was a tough game in the away leg. We're more than happy to get through and we're looking forward to playing Potsdam. I'm just happy to be playing and to get the delivery from 'Yanks' for both of the goals was really good. We went over the first-half performance and we knew we had to come out and play a bit better. Thankfully we did that.
[Potsdam] have been awesome in the last few years – they've won it a couple of times, and we have the utmost respect for them. We're looking forward to it. They've got a lot of talent throughout their squad; they've been playing really well. But we've got enough talent in our squad.
Gema Gili, Barcelona midfielder
I think we tried to play a good match, but the team we had to face were just incredible, and that was noticeable especially in the second half as we became tired. But the experience in the Champions League was very nice, although it ended pretty quickly. We will fight in the domestic league to be part of it again next season.