Barcelona crush Arsenal 5-0 in Women’s Champions League


Seven-time European women’s champions Lyon thrashed Benfica 5-0 in Lisbon on Thursday as Barcelona, who took the crown last season, also scored an impressive away victory, 4-0 at Arsenal.

Lyon locked up their place in the knockout stages with one round of group games to play, while Barca ensured they will progress as group winners.

In Lisbon, Norwegian Ada Hegerberg headed Lyon into lead after 34 seconds from a cross by Delphine Cascarino.

Centre-back Wendie Renard headed the second, meeting a corner under the Benfica crossbar in the 27th minute. 

In the 40th minute, Hegerberg again won the ball in the area and nodded it down to Griedge M’Bock who volleyed against the post and then scrambled in the rebound.

Hegerberg headed her second in added time, again from a Cascarino cross.

In the 51st minute one substitute, Melvine Malard sprung the Benfica offside trap and set up another, Signe Bruun, in front of an empty goal.

“It was very satisfying,” said Hegerberg. “We were efficient in the way we played.”

Bayern Munich locked up second place in Group D with a 5-1 victory over Hacken in Gothenburg.

Swedish striker Stina Blackstenius gave the home team a 36th-minute lead and hope of the victory that would keep their chances alive, but Bayern responded with two goals before half-time.

French midfielder Viviane Asseyi levelled after 39 minutes. Jovana Damnjanovic gave the visitors the lead in the 45th minute.

The Serbian striker struck again after 55 minutes. Linda Dallmann and Lineth Beerensteyn completed the scoring.

In Group C, Barcelona’s women clinched top spot by crushing second-place 4-0 Arsenal at the rainy Emirates.

Spanish midfielder Aitana Bonmati sprinted half the length of the field before sliding in the 21st-minute opener. 

Striker Jennifer Hermoso increased the lead with a weakly-hit close-range volley that squirmed past goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger.

Swede Fridolina Rolfo curled a 25-yard shot in off the post on the stroke of half-time.

Spaniard Hermoso scuffed the ball over the line with another ungainly finish in the 75th minute.

“Today we had 90 excellent minutes,” said Barcelona coach Jonatan Giraldez. “But we have to keep improving.”

Arsenal remained second in the group and will advance unless they lose by five goals or more away to Hoffenheim in the final round.  

“I’m standing here trying to smile,” said Zinsberger. “You have to accept you are playing against the world’s best team.”

Hoffenheim kept their slim hopes alive with a 2-1 win away to Koge in Denmark.

Irish striker Kyra Carusa gave the home team a ninth-minute lead with her first goal in the competition, but Austrian striker Nicole Billa converted penalties in the 27th and 38th minutes for the visitors. (Punch)

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