Twelve was the magic number for the big clubs in France and Australia, where Lyon and Melbourne City both continued seemingly inexorable charges to their respective league titles. As the resumption of action in Europe continues to gather speed, FIFA.com also looks at the latest from Spain and Italy where jostling among the leaders continued.
France: New year, same story
French super club Lyon lost little momentum over the holiday period as they chase a tenth successive title, and re-started their league campaign after the winter break with a remarkable 12-0 win over Guingamp. Lyon, who now sit three points clear of nearest challengers Paris Saint-Germain, were helped by a treble from Norwegian forward Ada Hegerberg, who now has 22 goals, putting her nine clear of both team-mate Lotta Schelin and PSG’s Cristiane. The capital club wrestled their way to a tough 2-1 win over Montpellier, leapfrogging their opponents into second in the process. Juvisy remain in touch with the leading pack following a 3-0 win over Albi.
Top three: Lyon (54 points), Paris Saint-Germain (51), Montpellier (49)
Australia: And then there were four
Melbourne City became the first team to go through the regular season with a perfect record after recording a perfect 12 wins from as many matches. It was, however, a close run thing for City, who needed a Marianna Tabain winner five minutes from time to seal a 2-1 victory over Sydney FC. City striker Larissa Crummer finished the season as the competition’s highest goalscorer with 11. The league’s newest club now must win two more matches to be crowned champions in their debut season. They will start with a match-up against Brisbane Roar, who edged into the fourth and final play-off position with a scoreless draw against Newcastle Jets. The Jets needed a two-goal win to overhaul their opponents on the ladder and end a seven-year finals drought. The other semi-final will see champions Canberra United host Sydney FC.
Top three: Melbourne City (36), Canberra United (26), Sydney FC (16)
Italy: Quartet continue to jostle
It was one versus two in Italy as surprise leaders Mozzanica tackled second-placed Verona, but in the end there was little to separate the two sides, who swapped first-half goals. With numerous tight matches and four teams in serious title contention this year, the gap in quality across the league continues to narrow. Among the title contenders are Brescia, who took the opportunity move in on the pair thanks to a tough 2-1 win over Tavagnacco. Also in the hunt are Fiorentina, who eased to a 3-0 win over Sudtirol.
Top three: Mozzanica (23), Verona, Brescia (22), Fiorentina (20)
Spain: Redemption in sight
Though only just past the halfway point of the season, Athletic Bilbao are on track to cast aside numerous near-misses and end a nine-year championship drought. A 2-0 win at Oviedo Moderno lifted Athletic to a six-point advantage over Barcelona, against whom they famously suffered heartache in 2013 as the Catalans snatched the title on the final day of the season. On Sunday, however, Barcelona were forced to settle for a scoreless draw at third-placed Atletico Madrid.
Top three: Athletic Bilbao (40), Barcelona (34), Atletico Madrid (32)