Steph Catley free-kick special sets Arsenal on path to rout of HB Køge

Academy graduate Anna Patten scored her first European goal in Arsenal’s 5-1 win over the Danish champions HB Køge.

Steph Catley opened the scoring in the first half after Nikita Parris had missed a penalty. Parris and Caitlin Foord added one each in the second half but sloppy defending allowed Køge to grab a first Champions League goal through Maddie Pokorny, then Patten looped in to make it 4-1 and Jordan Nobbs added the fifth. The win means Arsenal remain second in Group C, three points behind Barcelona.

Køge may have been the underdogs in Group C containing Arsenal, Barcelona and Hoffenheim but the Elitedivisionen champions came close to providing a huge shock in the previous round of games. The Danish side stifled Barcelona until the 63rd minute and twice went close to scoring as their rapid counterattack caught the reigning European champions out. In the end a Frida Rolfö goal just past the hour and an added-time penalty from Jenni Hermoso delivered the expected result but it was the first time the Spanish champions had not scored three or more goals this season.

In response to the threat Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall chose a star-studded lineup with Vivianne Miedema returned to the starting XI following her substitute appearance against West Ham on Sunday after a planned break.

It was a cagier Køge that took to the pitch against Arsenal though. In front of a record crowd and sizeable away contingent, with the Arsenal supporters’ club in Denmark having mobilised for the fixture, Arsenal were dominant.

By the 15-minute mark they had their best chance when forward Cecilie Fløe brought down Parris to concede a penalty. With regular penalty taker Kim Little watching from the bench, Parris stepped up but her effort was a tidy height for American goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese who pushed the effort aside.

With Køge getting bodies behind the ball it would be a set piece that would provide the opening for the visiting team. A free-kick from the right was swept into the top corner by Australian full-back Catley.

As Køge began to work their way out in the second half, in search of the goal that would get them something from the game, the gaps began to open up at the back. In the space of six minutes Arsenal scored twice to kill the tentative but bright forays forward of the Danish side.

First Parris, with her back to goal, collected a quick ball into her feet and spun and fired in. Then Foord headed in the rebound after Nobbs crashed an effort against the crossbar from the edge of the box.

Køge got their first Champions League goal moments later after a mistake from Catley, who under-hit her backpass allowing Pokorny to pounce and slip the ball past goalkeeper Lydia Williams.

Unperturbed, Arsenal swept forward once more, buoyed by fresh legs, and Patten floated the ball into the corner of the net five minutes before Nobbs added the fifth from a tight angle in the 89th minute.

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