A dramatic week in the women’s game was highlighted by the Copa Libertadores, in which Chile’s Colo Colo creating a slice of history by ending Brazil’s domination of the tournament. Elsewhere, young stars lit the way for Norway’s Stabaek as they claimed cup glory, a key clash took place at the top in Germany, and heavyweights returned to form in Australia.
Copa Libertadores: Chileans break Brazilian stranglehold
A historic Copa Libertadores has seen Brazil’s monopoly on the four-year old tournament end with Chile’s Colo Colo crowned continental champions on Sunday. The Chileans edged out Brazil’s Foz Cataratas 4-2 on penalties in the final following a scoreless draw to conclude the 11-day, 12-team tournament in Pernambuco. The three Brazilian clubs – Foz Cataratas, Vitoria and reigning champions Sao Jose - won all three groups, with Colo Colo edging into the last four as the best second-placed team ahead of Boca Juniors. The Santiago club then defeated Vitoria 4-3, with player of the tournament Karen Araya grabbing a late winner. However, it was Brazil national team star Cristiane who finished as top goalscorer after hitting the back of the net seven times. Colo Colo became the second club after Santos to win both the male and female editions of the Copa Libertadores, with the Chilean club coached by a member of the team which won the men's tournament in 1991, Jose Letelier.
Germany: Tide continues to turn
Wolfsburg’s rise up the pecking order of German women’s football took another stride forward on Friday as the Lower Saxony club claimed a last-gasp 2-1 win over champions Turbine Potsdam to claim a three-point advantage over their rivals at the summit. Nadine Kessler was the two-goal heroine in a drama-charged encounter as Wolfsburg came from behind to finally break the resistance of the visitors, for whom goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher saved a second-half penalty. Perennial challengers 1.FFC Frankfurt took full advantage of the top-of-the-table clash to move level with long-term rivals Potsdam. Frankfurt’s 4-1 win over Bad Neuenahr was secured on the back of doubles from Svenja Huth and Kerstin Garefrekes.
Top three: Wolfsburg (25 points), Turbine Potsdam, Frankfurt (both 22 points)
Norway: Coronation for cup queens Stabaek
The season in Norway concluded with Stabaek as cup winners after defeating Roa 4-0 to retain their crown over the same opponent as last season. Stabaek, who finished second in the league, never looked like missing the opportunity to secure cup glory and were three goals up by half-time. Two stars from Norway’s 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup squad led the way, with Ada Hegerberg hitting a first-half treble and Caroline Hansen completing the scoring.
Australia: Big guns open fire
After an indifferent opening to the season, Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar bounced back to form with wins to move into joint-second spot, despite the absence of numerous players on national team duty. Sydney were in cruise control against bottom side Adelaide United, hitting four answered goals. However it was in Brisbane where the drama unfolded as the home side took the lead against Melbourne Victory through Amy Chapman’s second of the game, and although Jessica McDonald equalised in injury time, there was still time for the Roar’s Ashley Spina to find a winner with the last kick of the match. New club Western Sydney Wanderers continued their winning form with a 3-0 victory against Newcastle Jets, with Sarah Walsh, who recently retired from the international circuit, scoring twice. The match between leaders Perth Glory and champions Canberra United was postponed.
Top three: Perth Glory (12), Sydney FC, Western Sydney Wanderers, Brisbane Roar (all 10)