Arsenal exit Women’s Champions League after stunning pen defeat

Arsenal suffered a shocking exit from Women’s Champions League at the first qualifying stage after a penalty shootout defeat to Paris FC following a dramatic 3-3 draw.

Mathilde Bourdieu scored twice in three minutes for Paris early in the second half to leave Arsenal in an uphill battle, but substitute forward Alessia Russo clawed a goal back on 80 minutes before defender Jen Beattie levelled the scores deep into added time to force extra-time.

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Replacement Paris forward Louise Fleury netted in extra-time, again putting Arsenal on the backfoot before Russo struck once more on 116 minutes.

However, Paris held their nerve in the shootout, claiming a 4-2 victory on penalties and a place in the second qualifying round.

Arsenal were without stars Leah Williamson and Vivianne Miedema, who remain out with knee injuries, but still featured a strong side that included Katie McCabe, Kim Little, Caitlin Foord and Lotte Wubben-Moy.

England forward Beth Mead was an unused substitute as she continues to recover from an ACL injury that forced her out of the Women’s World Cup.