Big name meetings were a feature of the past week in women’s club football with several of Europe’s top clubs drawn together in the UEFA Women’s Champions League. Sao Jose returned to the summit in South America, there were shocks for two title aspirants in Australia, while FIFA.com’s weekly review of the women’s game also takes in action from New Zealand.
UEFA Women’s Champions League: Continental elite face-off
The Round of 16 draw for the UEFA Women’s Champions League served up several fixtures worthy of the latter stages of the competition, headlined by the pairing of French powerhouse Lyon against Turbine Potsdam in a rematch of the 2010 and 2011 finals. Superior finishing allowed the French queens to prevail 1-0 away from home in a tight contest. FIFA Puskas Award nominee Louisa Necib provided an unerring strike for the winner seven minutes from time, after Ada Hegerberg and Genoveva Anonman both spurned golden opportunities for the home side.
Elsewhere in other high-profile match-ups, reigning holders Wolfsburg won 2-1 at Swedish champs Malmo thanks to Martina Muller’s late penalty, while ambitious Tyreso took a 2-1 margin from their visit to Denmark’s Fortuna Hjorring with prolific American striker Christen Press bagging a double. Spanish champions Barcelona underlined their growing status with a 3-0 opening leg win over Swiss counterparts FC Zurich. The return fixtures will be played in midweek.
Copa Libertadores Femenina: Title returns to Brazil
Sao Jose regained the crown they lost last year to Colo Colo, with the Brazilians topping the 12-day tournament held on home soil in Foz do Iguacu after defeating Colombia’s Deportivo Formas Intimas in the final. Sao Jose turned in a resilient performance when it counted coming from a goal down against the Medellin-based club, as well as surviving the dismissal of Giovannia. The Brazilian club seemed set to exit at the semi-final stage only to conjure a last minute equaliser against Colo Colo leading to a penalty shoot-out victory. Maitte Zamorano of Bolivian club Mundo Futuro, who finished fourth, was the tournament’s leading scorer with seven goals.
Australia: Goals flow as heavyweights clash
The W-League season opened in spectacular fashion with a couple of big-name match-ups headlined by Sydney FC overwhelming Melbourne Victory as the pair reprised last season’s finale. Sydney FC was again the victor but few expected a 5-1 scoreline after strong off-season recruiting by the Victory, headlined by FIFA Puskas Award nominee Lisa De Vanna. There was a shock also for Brisbane and their star signing, Germany goalkeeper Nadine Angerer, who was unable to prevent a 3-0 home loss to Canberra United in a repeat of the 2012 title decider. The free-scoring Michelle Heyman scored a double with United’s key acquisition, former USA midfielder Lori Lindsey, also on the scoresheet. Elsewhere, Kate Gill set the tone early by scoring 13 seconds into the opening game of the season as Perth Glory won 5-2 at Newcastle Jets.
Top three: Sydney FC, Perth Glory, Canberra United (all three points)
New Zealand: As you were
There was little change at the top as the top three sides moved a step closer to the play-offs after Northern, Mainland and Capital all recorded victories in the fifth round of the competition. Northern retained top spot as they took out the re-match of the 2012 grand final, seeing off Auckland Football with goals in each half. Mainland Pride remain the only unbeaten side in the competition as they handed out a 7-0 thumping to Waikato Bay of Plenty with Tessa Lewis, Chloe Webster and Football Fern Annalie Longo all scoring twice. Capital remain third after their 1-0 win over the New Zealand U-17 Selection.
Top three: Northern (12), Mainland (11), Capital (10)