On this day in 2007, Arsenal became the first British team to lift the UEFA Women’s Champions League, then known as the UEFA Women’s Cup.
To mark the occasion, GiveMeSport Women looks back on the winning day.
The final, contested between Arsenal and Swedish side Umeå, actually took place over two legs.
This was the format of the Women’s Cup from 2001 until 2009, bar a single leg final in 2002. UEFA then announced the competition would be renamed to the Women’s Champions League and reformatted to have just one match for the final.
Arsenal defender Alex Scott was the hero for the Gunners in the first leg, which was played away from home at Gammliavallen. She scored a stunning long-distance goal in the dying minutes of the game, giving the Gunners a 1-0 advantage going into the second leg.
The crucial clash took place at Meadow Park in Borehamwood, where Arsenal still play matches to this day. The home team, captained by Jayne Ludlow of Wales, were resolute in defence. They even managed to dampen the attacking prowess of Brazilian superstar Marta.
With the match finishing goalless, Scott’s strike in the first leg was enough to crown Arsenal the best team in Europe. The victory was no mean feat –Umeå had previously won the UEFA Women's Cup in 2003 and 2004.
The Arsenal side that lifted the Champions League trophy was certainly star-studded. Although now retired, Karen Carney, Faye White, Rachel Yankey, Mary Phillip, Katie Chapman and Lianne Sanderson were all in the starting lineup on that day 14 years ago.
The winning squad also included several names still playing in the Women’s Super League today, with Aston Villa’s Anita Asante starting in defence. West Ham’s Gilly Flaherty was on the bench, alongside Tottenham Hotspur’s Gemma Davison and Rebecca Spencer.
Marta was the key player in the Umeå side, which also included now-recognisable names such as Lisa Dahlkvist and PSG’s Ramona Bachmann.
Leah Williamson’s special role
Leah Williamson is more commonly found in the heart of Arsenal’s defence these days, but the England star had a different role for the second leg at Meadow Park. She had the honour of leading the Arsenal team out as one of 11 mascots.
An adorable photo of Williamson about to walk out on the pitch as mascot has been shared by the Arsenal Women Twitter account to celebrate the occasion. She would have been 10-years-old at the time.
Williamson, a lifelong Arsenal fan, joined the club’s Centre of Excellence in 2006. Little did she know that she would eventually make 104 appearances for her team, including in the Champions League.
Only British team to win Champions League
Fourteen years on, Arsenal remain the only British side to have won the Women’s Champions League. Since then, four teams – Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Birmingham City – have reached the semi-finals, but none have progressed past the final four.
Chelsea are still in with a chance this season of ending England’s poor record in the competition. They are due to contest the second leg of their semi-final this weekend, but trail 2-1 to Bayern Munich.News Now - Sport News