Europe’s mid-winter weather dented the fixture programme across parts of the continent with numerous matches called off across England, while Germany continued their mid-season break with the hosting of the DFB Women’s Indoor Cup. French and European champions Lyon were unable to complete their league commitments, with PSG taking maximum advantage. It was a very different picture in the Southern Hemisphere where Australia’s final two were finalised amidst some searing summer temperatures.
Australia: And then there were two....
One of Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory will be crowned W-League champions after the pair survived epic battles in sweltering heat against Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory respectively to win through to next Sunday’s decider. Melbourne, who will be appearing in their maiden grand final, will play host after finishing higher on the ladder against a Sydney side who scraped into the play-offs on the final day of the regular season. The Victory edged a penalty shoot-out win over in-form Perth Glory with goalkeeper Brianna Davey making two stops, before American striker Jessica McDonald slotted home the decisive penalty. A Samantha Kerr double helped Sydney FC see off arch-rivals Brisbane Roar with a 3-2 comeback win, with the Queenslanders denied a fifth consecutive appearance in the season finale.
France: Weather dents Lyon’s charge
It is a rare event when Lyon don’t claim all three points and while that was the case in Round 14, it took Europe’s harsh mid-winter weather to put a halt, at least temporarily, to the league leaders' charge towards another title. Lyon’s visit to Vendenheim was postponed, allowing the European champions the opportunity to test their skills against visiting China PR outfit FC Shanghai in a friendly match. The debuts of their new signings - FIFA Women’s World Cup™-winner Shinobu Ohno and USA star Megan Rapinoe - amongst the highlights in a 5-0 win. PSG took full advantage of Lyon’s competitive absence with a 3-0 win over Toulouse to move within three points of their rivals, though having played a match extra. Fourth-placed Juvisy’s match against Yzeure was also postponed.
Top three: Lyon (52 points), PSG (49), Montpellier (43)
Spain: Frontrunners push on
It was a case of as you were in Spain with the top five sides all victorious, and the 16-team league table stretched further as a result. Leaders Athletic Bilbao maintained their hold on the summit but were made to work as hard as any of the leading sides during their 2-1 win at Levante Las Planas. The undefeated Atletico Madrid remain three points off the pace after their 2-0 win at Valencia. Madrid-based Rayo Vallecano were the big winners after inflicting a 7-2 thumping on struggling Lagunak.
Top three: Athletic Bilbao (44), Atletico Madrid (41), Barcelona (37)
Italy: Evergreen Panico still shining
Torres maintained their firm grip on top spot with the Sardinian club cruising to a 4-2 win over Como. Veteran Patrizia Panico bagged a hat-trick with the 37-year-old still very much in the hunt for a remarkable 12th top goalscorers crown. The win saw the champions, who are hunting their fourth successive title, maintain their nine-point margin over the chasing pack. Two second-half strikes saw Tavagnacco secure a crucial 2-1 comeback win at Brescia to leapfrog their opponents into second.
Top three: Torres (49), Tavagnacco (40), Brescia (39)