Goals were in copious quantity as the last eight in the UEFA Women’s Champions League were determined, and although it was good news for many of the continent’s traditional contenders, former holders Turbine Potsdam fell by the wayside.
UEFA Women’s Champions League: Giants toppled
The Round of 16 produced a flurry of goals and at least one major scalp as 2010 winners Turbine Potsdam crashed out against English champions Arsenal. A goalfest in Germany ended the way of the Gunners, with Kelly Smith profiting most with a hat-trick. After losing the first leg 2-1, and despite a goal of the season candidate from Yuki Ogimi, the Germans crashed out 6-4 on aggregate to miss the quarter-finals for the first time.
Compatriots Wolfsburg had a far easier time, completing a 5-2 aggregate win over Norway’s Roa. Goals, predictably, were in abundance for reigning champions Lyon, who routed FC Zorkyi 11-0 on aggregate, although the Russians, to their credit, conceded just twice in the second leg away from home. Another major name to see their hopes ended were Danish runners-up Fortuna Hjorring, who narrowly succumbed to Goteborg 4-3 on aggregate, with American midfielder Christen Press the two-goal heroine for the Swedes.
Germany: Wolfsburg devour Frankfurt
Rising power Wolfsburg secured a 4-2 comeback win against Frankfurt to leapfrog their rivals into second. Remarkably, Frankfurt’s two goals were the first conceded by Wolfsburg this season in what was their seventh Bundesliga outing. With the defeat, Frankfurt, the European Women’s Champions League runners-up last season, slipped to third, although still well clear of the chasing pack.
Leaders Turbine Potsdam, like Wolfsburg, showed no ill-effects from their midweek exertions on the continent to win by the same scoreline at Bayer Leverkusen, with Japan striker Ogimi scoring a double. At the other end of the table, Jena continued their move away from the relegation zone with a third win from four starts. Jena’s New Zealand international Ria Percival scored the only goal of the game in a home victory over newly-promoted Sindelfingen.
Top three: Turbine Potsdam (21 points), VFL Wolfsburg, 1.FFC Frankfurt (both 19)
Japan: Leonessa underline superiority
Champions INAC Kobe Leonessa continued their all-conquering league form until the final day of the season, rounding out the campaign with a one-sided 4-0 win over nearest challengers NTV Beleza. Two goals in each half saw Leonessa finish a remarkable 15 points clear of their rivals at the conclusion of the 18-match campaign. Only a scoreless draw against Okayama Belle Yunogo in May prevented Leonessa’s star-studded side from completing a perfect league campaign.
The win sets up Leonessa for a tilt at further silverware, with the International Club Championship later this month in Japan featuring European champions Lyon, Australian title-holders Canberra United and Nadeshiko League cup winners Beleza. That will be followed by the national cup competition in December, where Leonessa will be seeking to retain their crown.
Top three: INAC Kobe Leonessa (52 points), NTV Beleza (37), Okayama Belle Yunogo (32)
Australia: Perth eye Glory
With the help of their national team quartet, Perth Glory returned to the top of the ladder on the back of an astonishing 6-1 defeat over Newcastle Jets. The Glory’s Matildas contingent did most of the damage, with Kate Gill hitting a treble, while Collette McCallum and Lisa De Vanna, returning to her hometown club after several seasons' absence, were also on the scoresheet. Midfielder Aivi Luik also made a strong contribution after six months out with injury, with the Glory reaching the summit for the second time this campaign, having never done so in the four previous W-League seasons.
Meanwhile, Melbourne Victory created their own W-League first by defeating leaders Sydney FC, with Laura Spiranovic, sister of Socceroo Mat, grabbing a late winner. The Victory sported two imported debutants in Swede Petra Larsson and newly-crowned English Super League player of the year Jessica Fishlock. Champions Canberra United were held 1-1 at new club Western Sydney Wanderers.
Top three: Perth Glory (9 points), Canberra United (8), Sydney FC, Brisbane Roar (both 7)