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Arsenal outclass brave Breidablik

Breidablik 0-5 Arsenal LFC Four goals in ten second-half minutes saw Arsenal complete a comprehensive quarter-final first-leg win in Iceland.

Unrelenting pressure
A hardworking display for over an hour by Breidablik's defence enabled the Icelandic side to restrict the English champions to Kelly Smith’s 32nd-minute goal. However, the home side eventually gave way to Arsenal's unrelenting pressure as Smith struck again before one goal from Lianne Sanderson and two by Julie Fleeting put the first leg of this quarter-final, and almost certainly next Thursday's second at Borehamwood, beyond doubt.

Helgadóttir heroics
Arsenal put Breidablik on the back foot from the very start but both sides had their chances before Smith broke the deadlock just beyond the half-hour mark. The second half became a more one-sided affair as the home side began to show signs of nerves and Thóra Helgadóttir frustrated Arsenal with a string of fine saves. On 67 minutes, however, Helgadóttir could do nothing to keep out Smith's powerful shot. Suddenly the Breidablik captain did not look quite as unbeatable as, three minutes later, Sanderson finished neatly before Fleeting struck on 74 and 77 minutes.

Icelandic nerves
"Even though we only once until well into the second half, we didn't play well," said Helgadóttir. "We didn't really find our rhythm and were nervous. We didn't play our normal game and we needed our best performance today. In a game like this adrenalin should have taken care of the nerves."

Fleeting experience
One player who looked completely at home in Kopavogur was Fleeting, who took full advantage of having spent most of the summer on loan at Icelandic double-winners Valur Reykjavík. "I knew that Breidablik were good, and I knew that they would be well-organied but so are we," she said. "We played at our pace and we have a lot of players that like to score goals." A semi-final rematch with their second qualifying round rivals Brøndby IF now looks a possibility as the Danish side hold a 3-0 first-leg lead against 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam.

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