Huge shock as Arsenal crash out of Champions League on penalties with Alessia Russo miss proving costly soon after the joy of scoring her first goals for Gunners

Alessia Russo Arsenal
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Alessia Russo scored her first and second Arsenal goals against Paris FC in the Women's Champions League as the Gunners were knocked out on penalties.
  • Russo joined Arsenal on a free transfer
  • Scored a brace
  • Gunners eliminated in shocking fashion

WHAT HAPPENED? Russo came off the bench against Paris in their first round qualifying clash, with the score at 2-0 thanks to a brace from Mathilde Bourdieu, but the England international halved the deficit in the 80th minute. She capitalised on a defensive error, and shot at goal, with the effort going through the goalkeeper.

Russo's goal was the spark for the Gunners to complete a superb comeback, as Jen Beattie scored in the 96th minute to restore parity and force extra time. Paris FC added a third, but Russo again hit back, scoring just four minutes from the end of extra time. However, the Gunners lost the shootout 4-2, being eliminated from the competition in the process. Russo, heartbreakingly, was one of the players to miss, along with Frida Maanum.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Arsenal have been mainstays in the Champions League in recent seasons, reaching the semi-finals in 2022/23, even beating 2021/22 winners Lyon 5-0 in the group stages. They also reached the quarter-finals the season prior, so to be eliminated before even reaching the group stages is a massive shock. Paris FC, by comparison, last reached the latter stages of the tournament in 2012/13, when they played in the semi-finals.

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WHAT NEXT? Arsenal return to domestic action on October 1st against Liverpool looking to put this shock behind them.