Emma Byrne "felt ecstatic, overwhelmed and a little bit emotional" after her outstanding display helped Arsenal LFC win the UEFA Women's Cup.
Goalkeeper Emma Byrne "felt ecstatic, overwhelmed and a little bit emotional" after her outstanding display helped Arsenal LFC win the UEFA Women's Cup.
Byrne was a key figure as Arsenal completed a 1-0 aggregate win against Umeå IK with a goalless draw in the second leg to hand the English side a maiden success at this level. "I'm still coming to terms with the fact that we are European champions," said the Republic of Ireland No1. "I'm feeling ecstatic, overwhelmed and a little bit emotional - the whole thing is still sinking in."
No one at Meadow Park was busier than Byrne and the 27-year-old's crucial late stop from Ramona Bachman, diving low to her right to deny the substitute when she was one-on-one, was to prove a pivotal moment. She said: "It was vital to keep them out otherwise we would have been heading for extra time and I have a feeling that they probably would have beaten us then because they were creating more chances and were on top of us. I'm glad it didn't go that far."
Mary Phillip was equally delighted. "It's just fantastic, as you can tell by the smile on my face," said the England defender. "It's a great achievement for us because I don't think we were expected to get a result. Last week we went out and worked hard as a team together and got the 1-0 advantage. We knew it would be a tough game but we just had to do the same as we did last week - work hard and stop them from playing and it worked in our favour."
Arsenal became the first team outside of Sweden and Germany to claim the UEFA Women's Cup thanks to Alex Scott's last-gasp winner at Gammliavallen last Saturday. Despite that advantage, forward Lianne Sanderson revealed that the London club's aim was still to attack in the home leg. "I just think we had to get at them and I think that's what we did," said the English champions' 38-goal leading scorer.
"We were unlucky not to get a couple of goals in the first half although we had to hang on near the end and it was a nail-biting finish. I think they wrote us off a bit and didn't realise what a good team we were. We attacked a lot more here than we did when we were in Umea and I think we showed them, as well as the rest of Europe, what we could do."