FIFA.com reviews the weekend action in women’s club football. In Australia there was a return of several star players and a massive shock, while the leaders in France and Spain maintained their dominance amid a flurry of goals. Meanwhile in Italy a tense three-way tussle continues unabated.
*Australia: Shocks amid returning stars *It was a history-making weekend for Adelaide United with the team who have come last in the past three seasons edging a 1-0 win over star-studded Brisbane Roar. Little-known midfielder Daniela Di Bartolo netted the second-half winner past FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year nominee Nadine Angerer. United had gone into the match with just five wins in 56 matches over six seasons of the W-League. The weekend also saw a host of stars return to action with Western Sydney Wanderers welcoming back veteran Australia midfielder Heather Garriock after the birth of her first child. Garriock scored with a cool chip barely five minutes into her return following a two-year absence, as the Wanderers overwhelmed Perth Glory with three unanswered goals. Teenage star Caitlin Foord, named the best young player at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup™, shone for Sydney FC in a 1-1 draw against rivals Melbourne Victory after five months out.
*Top three: Melbourne Victory (10 points), Canberra United, Brisbane Roar (both 9) *
*France: Queens advance amid goal-rush *Lyon’s inexorable charge towards another French title continued on the weekend with a comfortable 4-0 win over Juvisy. The Parisians – the last team to win the championship prior to Lyon’s current run of seven successive titles – were never in the hunt after falling behind in the opening minutes, with Amandine Henry’s double the highlight for the holders. Second-placed Paris Saint-Germain took a three-point lead on their vanquished capital city rivals by cruising to a 9-0 win at Muret, as Marie-Laure Delie helped herself to a hat-trick. Sweden forward Josefine Oqvist also bagged a treble as Montpellier leapfrogged Juvisy into third place on goal difference with a one-sided 8-1 home win over Rodez.
*Top three: Lyon (48), Paris Saint-Germain (42), Juvisy, Montpellier (both 39) *
*Italy: Status quo unchanged *It was a case of as you were in Italy with the top three retaining a healthy break over the pack approaching the halfway point of the season. Champions Torres maintained their slim one-point lead at the summit thanks to a 5-0 victory at newly-promoted Scalese. The Sardinians claimed the biggest win of the weekend, which was built upon a double from evergreen striker Patrizia Panico who is chasing a remarkable thirteenth top-goalscorers award. Tavagnacco and Brescia maintained their chase of the leaders with wins over Res Roma and Firenze, with the latter victorious for a ninth match in succession.
*Top three: Torres (34), Tavagnacco, Brescia (both 33) *
*Spain: Champions maintain charge *Barcelona, having broken their championship duck in 2012, are on track for a third successive title with the Catalans maintaining their seven-point margin over the chasing pack. The leaders were never in danger at Sant Gabriel, eventually winning 4-0 with a pair of goals in each half. Second-placed Athletic Bilbao did it far tougher, before eventually prevailing with a lone goal at Huelva. It was the same winning scoreline for Atletico Madrid who, having lost the title on the final day of last season, jumped into third with a hard-fought win at Valencia.
Top three: Barcelona (34), Athletic Bilbao (27), Atletico Madrid (26)