Lotte Wubben-Moy struck an 89th-minute equalizer to earn Arsenal a 1-1 draw at home to Wolfsburg in the first leg of their Women’s Champions League quarter-final.
The Gunners, who remain in pursuit of the treble, looked set for a narrow defeat with Tabea Wassmuth’s first-half effort the difference between the sides going into the latter stages.
Wubben-Moy proved the unlikely hero for the Women’s Super League leaders with only her fifth goal for the club to ensure there is plenty to play ahead of next week’s return meeting in Germany.
The Gunners were well aware of their opponent’s threat with Wolfsburg thrashing Chelsea by a 4-0 score in December and a frantic start occurred at the Emirates Stadium.
Beth Mead dragged an early effort wide before Svenja Huth headed wide at the other end of the pitch.
Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall had welcomed their opportunity to play at the Emirates, but the visitors went ahead in the 19th minute.
While Manuela Zinsberger was able to deny Wassmuth’s initial effort, Wolfsburg were able to keep the move alive and the forward headed home Marie-Joelle Wedemeyer’s cross to break the deadlock.
The two-time winners of the competition were in the mood now and Alexandra Popp could only direct another effort off target soon after before the hosts improved after the half an hour mark.
First Steph Catley enjoyed more joy out wide but Katie McCabe was unable to finish off the move and Mead saw an effort saved in the 34th minute by Almuth Schult following a smart turn.
There were no further chances before the break but Arsenal should have leveled immediately after the restart when Vivianne Miedema dropped deep and sat away Noelle Maritz, who was able to pick out Stina Blackstenius but the January recruit could not convert at the back post.
Blackstenius did have the ball in the back of the net with 50 minutes on the clock but the offside flag had already been raised and the home supporters’ brief celebrations were cut short.
Wolfsburg almost inflicted more misery on the hour mark but Wassmuth fired against the post when one-on-one and Jill Roord was also denied a goal against her former club by the woodwork.
An innocuous caution for Mead minutes later added more frustration with the yellow card ruling the Arsenal attacker out of the second leg.
Eidevall waited until the 76th minute to make his first change, with Tobin Heath introduced in place of McCabe.
Zinsberger, who had thwarted Wassmuth before the substitution, continued to be the busier of the two goalkeepers with a save from Huth to keep the deficit at one.
It would prove crucial with Arsenal able to grab a deserved leveler a minute from time.
Substitute Heath fired a low ball into the area where Wubben-Moy controlled and drilled in to ensure there is nothing to separate the teams going into the second leg on Thursday.
The Gunners for now turn their attention back to the league with north London rivals Tottenham set to visit on Saturday.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.