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Arsenal 1-0 Tottenham: Russo earns derby spoils at sold-out Emirates
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Mark Mann-Bryans
Press Association
Arsenal celebrate Alessia Russo's decisive goal
Arsenal celebrate Alessia Russo's decisive goal

Alessia Russo proved to be the difference on derby day as Arsenal edged to victory over Tottenham at a sold-out Emirates Stadium to keep on the heels of the Women’s Super League leaders.

Having lost the reverse fixture earlier in the season, this was a chance for Arsenal to gain revenge on their North London neighbours as they played in front of a crowd in excess of 60,000 for the second game in succession.

After dominating a first half in which the visitors actually came closest to scoring, Jonas Eidevall’s side eventually found a way through as Russo tucked home her sixth league goal of the season, ultimately sealing a 1-0 win for the Gunners.

The victory means they move back to within three points of the WSL summit as they tussle for the title with Chelsea and Manchester City.

Ahead of the game, Eidevall said he wants to turn the Emirates into a “fortress” as Arsenal increase the number of women’s fixtures staged there.

Tottenham, though, stood up to the test for much of the afternoon and created a few of their own opportunities as they sought a historic north London derby double.

An early kick-off on a clear day meant the Tottenham penalty area was bathed in sunlight in the first half and the visitors seemingly struggled to spot the ball in the opening exchanges — surviving a barrage of set-pieces as Arsenal whipped in six corners in the opening 10 minutes.

Having seen out the opening salvo Tottenham themselves started to create more and more on the break as Martha Thomas — who scored the winner when the sides met in December — forced Manuela Zinsberger into her first meaningful action of the game.

Arsenal continued to dominate but it was Spurs who again came close, Jessica Naz this time cutting in from the left, her looping strike tipped onto the crossbar and behind by Zinsberger.

While the teams went in level at the break, Arsenal were ahead soon after.

Katie McCabe came close with a long-range effort that whistled just wide of the post and moments later the deadlock was broken, Russo left with a straightforward finish after a fine pass from Kim Little and good work from Beth Mead saw her square for her England team-mate to convert.

Spurs never looked like levelling as Mead enjoyed more and more freedom down the right without Arsenal managing to extend their lead.

Leah Williamson was among a number of substitutes introduced later in the game as the England captain returned from a hamstring injury to cap off a good day for Arsenal.

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