Champions League: Arsenal draw at Rayo Vallecano

By Tony Leighton Women's football correspondent
Kim Little
Kim Little was Arsenal's top goalscorer last season

Arsenal will take a precious away goal into the second leg of their Women's Champions League tie against Rayo Vallecano after a 1-1 draw in Madrid.

The Gunners had the best possible start as Scotland midfielder Kim Little put them in front after only three minutes.

But Vallecano equalised through Natalia Sanchon in the 31st minute.

The English champions controlled much of the game but were unable to give themselves a lead ahead of the second leg at Borehamwood on Wednesday.

They are in a better position than 12 months ago when they beat the Spanish side at the same stage, despite losing the away leg 2-0 and needing a stoppage-time goal in the second leg to go through 4-3 on aggregate.

An away win looked a real possibility after Little's early goal was followed by a good spell of pressure on the home defence.

Right-back Steph Houghton had an 11th-minute shot saved by goalkeeper Alicia Gomez Prada.

And then Jayne Ludlow and Rachel Yankey both missed the target before Danielle Carter was denied by Alicia in the 29th minute.

Two minutes later, however, the visitors were stung as Vallecano grabbed the equaliser through captain Natalia.

Arsenal hit back immediately but both Ludlow and Little had goalbound efforts kept out by Alicia before the interval.

And the keeper remained defiant after the break, saving from Little and Ellen White, while both White and Katie Chapman had shots blocked.

Emma Byrne in the Arsenal goal did not have to make a save in the second half as the Gunners maintained their grip on the game.

They kept pressing but could not find a way past Alicia, who in stoppage time saved from substitute Jordan Nobbs to keep the scores level heading into the second leg.