European champions Barcelona produced a dominant display by beating Arsenal 4-1 in their Women’s Champions League opener on Tuesday night.
Barcelona were in full control in the first half, taking the lead via the rebounded end point from Mariona Caldentey (32), before Alexia Putellas caught up with Asisat Oshoala (43).
Against her former club, Oshoala Barca slid 3-0 ahead (47) early in the second half before Arsenal found some rhythm and took a goal back via Frida Leonhardsen Maanum, who bundled the home side at the back post (74).
Sub Lieke Martens made it 4-1 with an agile finish late on (84), while Putellas saw an injury time penalty saved by Manuela Zinsberger after Jordan Nobbs fouled her in the area.
Barca had a total of 37 shots on Arsenal’s goal in the match, with Arsenal’s Zinsberger making 10 saves on a humble night for the Gunners, albeit with a much improved game in the second half.
How Barca blew Gunners away
Barca proved why they were European champions and favorites to keep their crown this year in a dominant first half, registering 19 shots on target against Arsenal’s.
They camped out for almost the entire half of Arsenal’s defensive third, getting close to Caldentey and Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic, who both made good saves from Zinsberger.
But the hosts had to wait until just after half an hour to take the lead via Caldentey, who sprang after Zinsberger stopped Oshoala’s attempt from the edge of the box, calming herself before heading home.
And it was 2-0 before the break as Oshoala got to the byline with ease, before cutting back for Putellas to change into the net.
Barca picked up where they left off in the second half as Caldentey Oshoala scored on goal, before the Nigerian scored the 3-0 under Zinsberger.
Arsenal improved after deploying Tobin Heath, Nikita Parris and Caitlin Foord after the third goal, and got one of their own with a rare attack when Maanum converted on the far post from a free kick from Heath just after Parris saw an attempt go away the line.
But it turned out to be a fleeting moment as Barcelona got their fourth, Martens brilliantly dined over Zinsberger from Patricia Guijarro’s through ball.
It should have been five o’clock in stoppage time when Nobbs tripped captain Putellas into the penalty area, but her own goal was well saved by Zinsberger to her left to maintain a respectable damage limitation.
Arsenal now host Everton Women at 3pm on Sunday in the WSL, live on Sky Sports Premier League, before their second Champions League clash at home to Hoffenheim on October 14 at 8pm in Borehamwood.