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Arsenal rally from 2-goal deficit in Women's Champions League semifinal

WOLFSBURG, Germany - Two-time European champions VfL Wolfsburg let a two-goal lead slip against Arsenal as the visitors fought back to earn a 2-2 draw in Sunday's Women's Champions League semifinal first leg.

Ewa Pajor and Sveindís Jane Jónsdóttir gave the home side a 2-0 lead inside the first half hour but Arsenal reduced the deficit through Rafaelle Souza on the stroke of halftime before Stina Blackstenius leveled in the second period.

The comeback will give Arsenal a boost ahead of the second leg at Emirates Stadium on May 1 after the Londoners, who have been decimated by injuries, lost captain Kim Little and Leah Williamson to season-ending injuries earlier this week.

"Days like today make me even more proud to be a part of this group. Unbelievable result to get back from 2-0 down," said Arsenal defender Jen Beattie, who was player of the match. "I genuinely cannot wait to get back to the Emirates next week and see all our fans."

Wolfsburg were missing German striker Alexandra Popp but scored after 19 minutes when Jónsdóttir chested down a lob and spotted Pajor making a run in behind the defense, finding the striker with a clinical through ball for her to fire home.

Arsenal looked to recover from the blow but the Germans doubled their lead five minutes later after a defensive mistake. Rafaelle's attempted pass back inside the box did not find Beattie and Jónsdóttir's eyes lit up as the ball fell at her feet, with the Icelandic player beating the keeper.

However, the Arsenal defender made up for the error when she timed her leap well to head home a corner at the back post just before halftime to give the visitors a lifeline.

Arsenal then equalized after 69 minutes when Dutchwoman Victoria Pelova received the ball behind the defense on the right and crossed for Blackstenius who had a simple tap-in.

Wolfsburg immediately began piling more pressure on the visitors, with Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall willing his team to push up as they were forced deeper into their own half. Former Arsenal midfielder Jill Roord nearly made it 3-2 for Wolfsburg late in the game but she dragged her shot inches wide of the far post as Arsenal managed to cling on for the draw.

In the other semifinal, Barcelona edged Chelsea 1-0 in the first leg at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon and Ken Ferris)

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