Neck-and-neck title races providing excitement
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Although many European leagues have recently been on a break to make way for qualifying action for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015™ in Canada, it has been business as usual in New Zealand and Japan. FIFA.com brings you the latest from selected women’s leagues around the world.

New Zealand: Capital remain top, Northern gaining ground
Capital Football remain unbeaten three matches into the ASB Women’s League, although coach Paul Greig’s team had to settle for a draw this time around. A goal from Emma Rolston twelve minutes from time salvaged a point for Capital against Mainland, after Belinda Van Noorden put Mainland in front.

Elsewhere, two-time and defending champions Northern Football leapt into second place with a 2-0 victory over Central Football thanks to two early goals from Hannah Hoeksema and Nicole Stratford, thus reducing the gap on the league leaders. Meanwhile, Football South recorded their first win of the season, defeating the New Zealand U-17 Selection 2-1. 

Top three: Capital Football (7 points), Northern Football (6), Auckland Football (6)

Japan: Beleza consolidate second place

Having already wrapped up the title, INAC Kobe Leonessa appeared to be somewhat more relaxed in the 16th round of matches, losing narrowly 1-0 in a top-of-the-table meeting with NTV Beleza in which Nanase Kiryu scored the only goal of the game. The result enabled 12-time champions Beleza to gain valuable points in the battle for second place.

However, Okayama Yunugo Belle proved that the race for second spot is far from over with a resounding 7-1 win over Kibi Univ. Takahashi, with Saori Arimachi (3), Chihiro Nakagawa (2), Miki Matsuoka and Aya Miyama all adding their names to the scoresheet, while Marin Hamamoto scored a consolation goal for Takahashi.

Top three: INAC Kobe Leonessa (42), NTV Beleza (32), Okayama Yunogo Belle (30) 

Italy: Two-way battle for the title
After five rounds of matches, the race for the Italian league title is being led by two teams, with UPC Tavagnacco and ASD Torres Calcio matching each other win for win. Calcio won their encounter with Res Roma 2-0 through goals from Silvia Fuselli and Patrizia Panico. Meanwhile, Tavagnacco recorded a 4-0 victory over ASD Valpolicella, with Elisa Camporese (2), Evelyn Vicchiarello and Tatiana Bonetti delivering the team’s fifth consecutive win.

However, close behind the two league leaders are Brescia, who moved themselves into third place by defeating AFD Grifo Perugia 4-0. Further down the league, ACF Florence remain rooted to the bottom of the table and have yet to score a single point after suffering their fifth defeat in a row, a 4-2 loss to Verona.

Top three: UPC Tavagnacco (15), ASD Torres Calcio (15), ACF Brescia (12)