Jonas Eidevall says Arsenal’s shock defeat to Paris FC which saw them knocked out of the Women’s Champions League in the first qualifying round on penalties “hurts” but he was proud of his players.
Alessia Russo scored her first two goals for the Gunners but was one of two Arsenal players to miss in the shootout after the dramatic match ended 3-3 after extra time.
Eidevall’s side reached the semi-finals of the competition last season which he believes made the defeat more painful.
“Of course it hurts because we had such a good experience in Europe last season and we wanted to build on that. We knew from the beginning this mini-tournament was going to be really tough, for a number of reasons,” he said.
“One is that Paris is a really good team, another part is the really limited preparation time and playing on a 3G pitch that we are not really used to. So we knew there were external factors that were going to make this complicated and you only get one shot.”
Arsenal looked like they might have avoided an upset when they recovered from conceding two goals in as many minutes to Mathilde Bourdieu early in the second half.
Russo, a high-profile summer signing from Manchester United, pulled one back with 10 minutes to go and Jen Beattie headed in an equaliser deep into injury time.
Arsenal pushed for the win in extra-time but had to come from behind again after Julie Soyer restored Paris’ lead.
Russo showed her class by levelling again with a great strike from 25 yards, but Frida Maanum missed a golden chance at the death and the Norwegian and Russo both saw their spot-kicks saved by Chiamaka Nnadozie as Paris won the shootout 4-2.
“When I look at the performance, I think there are good things and bad things,” added Eidevall. “In general, we created enough chances to win the game if we look at it objectively, but we put ourselves in a really difficult situation conceding a goal and directly after that, being wasteful in our possession and giving them their second goal.
“From there the players showed great determination, great heart and great belief. We changed the formation and got the output we wanted from that.
“I am really proud of the players that we could come back twice in the game. Then it comes to the penalty shootout and it’s small margins and it hurts a lot when you’re on the wrong side of it. My feeling there is to take care of the players who are working so hard for us and putting themselves in brave positions taking penalties for us but of course we were not successful there today.”
Eidevall revealed Arsenal flew to Germany on Saturday night for a four-day training camp. They’ll play a pre-season friendly against Chelsea just before the international break.
There was also penalty heartbreak for Celtic, who were beaten 11-10 in a remarkable shootout against Norwegian side Valerenga after a 2-2 draw.
There were two goals in the opening 10 minutes, with Olaug Tvedten’s opener for the hosts quickly cancelled out by Kit Loferski, but that proved to be the end of the scoring in normal time.
Jenny Smith looked to have won it for Celtic with a goal deep into extra-time only for the Scottish side to concede a last-gasp penalty, which was converted by Elise Thorsnes.
Incredibly, the first 21 spot-kicks in the shootout were all converted before Celtic keeper Kelsey Daugherty saw her penalty saved by opposite number Guro Pettersen.
Elsewhere, Glasgow City defeated Gintra Women 3-0, Shelbourne Ladies were 3-0 winners over Cardiff, while Eintracht Frankfurt defeated Juventus on penalties following a 1-1 draw.
When does the WSL season start?
The 2023/24 Women’s Super League season starts on October 1, with Arsenal, who finished third last season, starting their campaign against Liverpool at Emirates Stadium.
What’s next for Arsenal?
Arsenal begin their Women’s Super League season on Sunday October 1 against Liverpool with kick-off at 2pm.
Their trip to Manchester United on Friday October 6 will be shown live on Sky Sports Premier League. Kick-off 7.30pm.
How to follow the WSL on Sky Sports’ digital platforms
Follow all the latest from the Women’s Super League across SkySports.com and app, including exclusive features and interviews, plus dedicated live blog coverage and in-game clips from games live on Sky Sports.
You can also watch free match highlights from every WSL game this season on Sky Sports’ digital platforms and YouTube channel, while all matches will continue to be shown on both Sky Sports Football, as well as on Sky Showcase, available in all Sky homes, even without a Sky Sports package, giving the competition greater visibility.
Alongside coverage and visibility for the league across all Sky Sports’ main social media channels, the bespoke Twitter channel @SkySportsWSL will continue to be the home of all Barclays FA WSL content on Sky Sports.
The Sky Sports WSL TikTok account gives fans 360° coverage of the league and grants them exclusive access to their new favourite players. Through fun challenges and interviews, along with behind-the-scenes footage, viewers will get to know the WSL’s array of personalities and see the sport from a new set of angles.
Meanwhile, fans can also keep up to date with everything on and off the pitch with the return of Three Players and a Podcast, hosted by Caroline Barker.
Key dates for the 2023/24 season
- Barclays Women’s Super League opening weekend: Sunday October 1
- Barclays Women’s Championship opening weekend: August 26 – August 27
- FA Women’s Continental League Cup final: March 30/31
- Barclays Women’s Championship final weekend: Sunday April 28
- Vitality Women’s FA Cup final: May 11/12
- Barclays Women’s Super League final weekend: Sunday May 18