1-0, min. 37, McCabe. 1-1, min. 44, Guijarro. 1-2, min. 45, Oshoala. 1-3, min. 47, Oshoala. 1-4, min. 71, Pina. 2-4, min. 76, Little (p). 2-5, min. 81, Pina.
Arsenal Women 2-5 Barcelona Femini: Oshoala and Pina hit doubles in North London friendly
§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND - AUGUST 14: Katie McCabe of Arsenal scores her sides first goal during the Pre Season friendly between Arsenal Women and Barcelona Women at Meadow Park on August 14, 2019 in Borehamwood, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Arsenal Women 2-5 Barcelona Femini: Oshoala and Pina hit doubles in North London friendly

Champions League runners-up Barcelona gave Arsenal a stern and unsurmountable test at Meadow Park on Wednesday night.

harry-robinson
Harry Robinson
ArsenalZinsberger; Maier, Williamson, Beattie (Mitchell 66'), Veje (Quinn 66'); Little, Roord; McCabe, van de Donk (Schnadebeck 66'), Mead; Miedema (Evans 60').
FC BarcelonaPaños (Font 62'); María León (Serrano 72'), Marta Torrejón (Jana 84'), Mariona, Hamraoui (Bonmati 45'), Alexia (Losada 60'), Patri (Gutierrez 87'), Graham (Aparicio 87'), A.Pereira (Conida 72'), Oshoala (Pina 63'), Falcón (Ouhabi 60')

Barcelona Femini showed their class in a comfortable friendly victory against Arsenal Women, the English champions preparing for a first Champions League campaign in half a decade.

The two sides could meet in the Round of 32 of the competition, with the draw being made on Friday and Arsenal being unseeded. The Gunners could also draw Lyon, Wolfsburg or Bayern Munich, amongst others.

Joe Montemurro's side took the lead through Katie McCabe but Barcelona netted thrice in a five-minute spell stretching across half-time, including a double from Asisat Oshoala.

It was an excellent test for Montemurro's team, with Barcelona at a similar stage of their preseason. Arsenal are looking to defend their title in the Women's Super League.

When Claudio Pina hit a wonder strike to put Barcelona three in front, the remainder of the game seemed a formality, but Kim Little drew things closer in the final 20 minutes with a well-struck penalty.

Pina tapped home a second to take the game away from Arsenal once more following a lovely move from the visitors.

It proved an unsurmountable test for Arsenal but an important one that shows exactly where they are and where they must get to if they are to replicate their historic success in Europe in 2007.

Story of the game

Arsenal were forced to constantly break through Barcelona's press in the opening stages, with the Catalans dominating proceedings.

Vivianne Miedema proved important as she dropped back onto the halfway line to act as a bouncer, pinging the ball back towards the passer and letting Arsenal work their way out of defence and into attack.

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Barcelona's pressure was threatening, though, with Gunners goalkeeper Zinsberger close to gifting a goal twice, nervily offloading the ball to the side as Oshoala charged her down.

Oshola's right-footed effort was mishandled by Zinsberger and trickled slowly towards the goalline, only to roll past the right post. The resulting corner saw Alexia head just past the left post. 

Little delivered a dangerous ball that Miedema failed to connect with as Arsenal grew into the game. Mead swept a reverse shot from outside the area past the post. Within 10 minutes, Arsenal's pressure paid dividends.

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Van de Donk headed over from a Mead cross and then McCabe grabbed the opener with a fine finish.

Barcelona's response was a show of strength and quality from last season's Champions League runners-up. McCabe's opener spurred them to a rapid comeback, netting twice in two minutes.

Patri Guijarro grabbed the first with a satisfying left foot effort that continued to rise until it nestled into the top left corner. A minute later, Oshoala slipped in a second from a tight angle on the right side of the six-yard box.

Any hopes of a response from Arsenal in the second half were dampened, though the heavy rain that North London had been condemned to all day had paused. Oshoala quickly looked for her second, spinning and forcing Williamson to step in and clean up for the Gunners.

The next goal was quick, though, and it did come from Oshoala, a constant threat and impossible to keep quiet. She rocketed home a rebound on the half-volley to wrap up an excellent performance, being substituted soon after with a small niggle, though only after Zinsberger had denied her a hat-trick with fantastic goalkeeping at her feet in a one-on-one.

With both sides still a couple of weeks from their season opener's, substitutions were frequent and disruptive, stopping the flow of the game on the hour mark. 

Claudia Pina replaced Oshoala and netted herself with a stunning strike from the right side of the pitch, lifting it over Zinsberger fantastically.

Arsenal continued to make changes and the fresh legs saw them regain their control in possession, being patient on the ball and eventually earning a penalty after a hand-ball. Captain Kim Little subsequently dispatched of it, sending the goalkeeper, Font, the wrong way.

After six goals predominantly temming from individual quality, Barcelona produced a lovely team goal completed by a Pina tap-in.

The game fizzled out as the remaining substitutes for each side came on to test their legs ahead of the new season.

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