International action took centre stage across much of Europe and North America over the weekend but the club action in other parts of the globe remained intense. Most notably in South America, where the Copa Libertadores Femenina is in full swing. Goals were in abundance in Japan where the league season concluded, in New Zealand where the semi-final schedule has now been finalised, and finally in Australia, where a surprise leader continues to set the standard.
*Copa Libertadores Femenina *
South America’s only club competition, now in its third year, is played over several weeks in one location. This year the tournament, which has increased to 12 teams, is being held in Sao Jose dos Campos, a major city in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo. Two-time winners Santos, despite the absence of Marta and Cristiane, have won through to Thursday’s semi-final where local hopes Sao Jose EC await. Despite the high-profile absentees, Santos have a host of stars in their line-up including Erika, Maurine and Karen, and were the only team to complete their group fixtures with a perfect record. The other-semi-final will feature Chile’s Colo Colo and Venezuela’s Caracas FC, for whom striker Ysaura Viso is the tournament’s top scorer with eight goals.
*Australia’s W-League: Capital club lead goal charge *
A plethora of goals were scored in Australia’s national competition with Canberra United maintaining an unblemished record in shooting down the previously high-flying Newcastle Jets. The league’s leading goalscorer Michelle Heyman bagged two more goals to move to seven from five matches, while there were hat-trick heroines in the other matches. Brisbane Roar moved second, eight points off the pace with Tameka Butt’s trio of goals helping the champions to a 5-2 win at Perth Glory. Melbourne Victory youngster Caitlin Friend also scored a treble – the club’s first ever – as Adelaide United capitulated to a 4-0 loss.
Top three: Canberra United (15 points); Sydney FC (7), Brisbane Roar (7)
*Japan’s Nadeshiko League: Leonessa do it easy *
Having sealed the title last weekend, INAC Leonessa rounded off the season in style with a 4-1 victory at Fukuoka J. Anclas in the concluding round. Combined with a surprise defeat for second-placed NTV Beleza against Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies, the win saw the star-studded Kobe club finish seven points clear as they wrapped up their maiden title-winning campaign. Urawa finished in third, two points off Beleza, despite their 1-0 win thanks to Yuki Yasuda’s solitary goal. Following their undefeated league campaign Leonessa will now seek to claim the double by winning through to the cup final on New Year’s Day and retaining their crown.
*Top three: INAC Leonessa (42), NTV Beleza (35), Urawa Red Diamonds (33) *
*New Zealand's ASB Women’s Youth League: Final four set *Northern Football and Mainland Pride confirmed home advantage for next week’s semi-finals by completing their group fixtures with 100 per cent records. Northern rubber-stamped first place in the Northern Conference with a 7-0 rout of the Conference Development squad to set up a meeting with Capital Football, who finished second in the other group. Mainland were equally impressive winners in overwhelming Central Football 4-0 with their reward being a home match-up against Waikato-BOP Football. 21 goals were scored across the four matches highlighted by golden boot front runner Hannah Wilkinson of Northern who, not only scored a 26- minute hat-trick, but equalled Renee Leota’s record tally of 13 goals in a national league season.