Sunshine always follows rain, or so the old adage goes. Lyon proved that such wisdom can also be applied to football by delivering an emphatic response to their first defeat after an amazing unbeaten run of 87 matches. Elsewhere, the Australian championship is down to its final four, and the title races in both Spain and Italy continue provide drama. FIFA.com brings you the latest action from selected women’s leagues around the world.
Australia: Final four set in stone
It is official: with two games of the regular season remaining, the Australian championship now has its four semi-finalists: Sydney FC, Melbourne Victory, Brisbane Roar and Canberra United.
Brisbane punched their ticket to the last four thanks to a 3-2 win over Western Sydney Wanderers, with FIFA World Footballer of the Year Nadine Angerer keeping goal. The Roar are now third but have opened up an eight-point gap over fifth place, guaranteeing themselves fourth spot at the very least. Current league leaders Sydney sneaked a 2-1 win at Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory comfortably saw off the Newcastle Jets 4-1, with Lisa de Vanna bagging a hat-trick. Last to book a semi-final place were Canberra, although they did so in impressive fashion, outclassing Perth Glory 5-1. The two semi-finals will be played on 15 and 16 February, with the final taking place seven days later on 23 February.
The top four: Sydney FC, Melbourne Victory (both 23 points), Brisbane Roar (19), Canberra United (18)
Spain: Barcelona and Bilbao neck and neck
Athletic Bilbao might have been hoping for a slip-up from leaders Barcelona before the weekend, but the team at the top of the pile were in no mood to oblige, coasting to a 3-0 win at Granada. Second-placed Bilbao could therefore only manage to keep the deficit at six points after edging out Espanyol Barcelona 2-1. Elsewhere, Valencia were held to a goalless draw by Transport Alcaine and Atletico Madrid went down 3-2 against Real Sociedad, results which were capitalised upon by Rayo Vallecano, who moved into third after beating Levante 2-1.
The top three: Barcelona (48), Athletic Bilbao (42), Rayo Vallecano (38)
France: Lyon are back
Following a first defeat in 87 games and an unbeaten run that stretched back almost four years, Lyon were back with a vengeance in the French Cup. Patrice Lair’s stellar cast reached the round of 64 with an astonishing 18-0 hammering of Pontarlier, with Swedish international forward Lotta Schelin helping herself to five goals. Laetitia Tonazzi and Saki Kumagai both scored hat-tricks, and there also were braces for Camille Abily and Corine Franco. Eve Perisset, Melissa Plaza and Makan Triode added their names to the score sheet with a goal apiece.
Paris Saint-Germain, currently second in the domestic table, ensured their progress after a 3-0 victory against Val d’Orge, as did Juvisy by the same scoreline against Quimper, and Montpellier, who were 5-0 winners against Nivolet. The draw for the next round will take place on Thursday, with the ties to be played on 16 February.
Italy: title race heating up
The fight to be crowned champions of Italy is becoming more exciting by the week. Torres Calcio underlined their desire to defend their league title with a crushing 7-0 win against ASD Valpolicella to stay within touching distance of Brescia, who continue to set the pace at the summit after beating Riviera di Romagna 3-0. Another side may yet have a say in the destination of the title, however. UPC Tavagnacco are well and truly in the mix after brushing aside CF Scalese 5-0, and are now just three points off the top with a game in hand on each of the sides above them.
The top three: ACF Brescia (48), Torres Calcio Sassari (46), UPC Tavagnacco (45)