Club football took something of a back seat over the weekend as international football grabbed much of the spotlight. But there was, nevertheless, plenty of intrigue in various parts of the globe, most notably in Australia where there was drama as the final two was determined. FIFA.com also looks at an increasingly fascinating title race in Italy, plus the latest from Portugal.
*Australia: Semi-final theatre *There was high drama in Australia’s W-League as the two heavily favoured sides were put under intense pressure in their respective semi-finals. As it was, champions Canberra United relinquished their crown as Sydney FC came away with a smash-and-grab 1-0 win thanks to Jasmyne Spencer’s lone strike. It was a first defeat for Canberra in nine matches and, incredibly, their first goal conceded on their traditional home ground since November 2014. Sydney FC will now face Melbourne City in Sunday’s season decider, but the runaway leaders only progressed by the narrowest of margins. Brisbane Roar defied the odds to hang on during 120 scoreless minutes against a free-scoring City side, who had won 12 matches straight. City’s all-star side eventually prevailed 5-4 on penalties, with national team captain Lisa De Vanna slotting home the winning spot-kick.
Italy: Four within striking distance
The lead has changed once again in Italy as a quartet of teams continued to jostle for supremacy. This time, reigning champions Verona surged to the summit as those around them stumbled. The Veneto side collected a routine 3-0 win over Zaccaria, with highly-regarded Italy forward Melania Gabbiadini netting a double. Previous leaders Mozzanica lost 2-0 at fifth-placed Tavagnacco, while Fiorentina are one of three teams to have a hold on second after they won 4-0 on the road at Res Roma. Perhaps luckiest of the leading pack were Brescia, who needed an equaliser deep into injury time from English defender Paige Williams as I Biancoblu *escaped Bari with a 2-2 draw.
*Top three: Verona (25 points), Mozzanica, Brescia, Fiorentina (all 23)
*Portugal: Leaders maintain push *
It continues to be a three-horse title race in Portugal, with the leading trio all victorious over the weekend. Looking to claim their first title are leaders Valadares Gaia and second-placed Albergaria, who comfortably defeated Fundacao and Ouriense respectively. Champions Benfica are also in the hunt, though they had a tough time against Viseu before prevailing 2-1.*
Top three: Valadares Gaia (39), Albergaria (37), Benfica (35)*