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Women's Football

Joy and anguish as silverware polished

Nahomi Kawasumi (C) of INAC Kobe Leonessa celebrates
© Getty Images's weekly review of women’s club football looks at a weekend to remember for several clubs around the world, with Japan powerhouse INAC Kobe Leonessa, Brazil’s Centro Olimpico and New Zealand Mainland Pride all claiming silverware. Elsewhere, there was anguish for a hugely unlucky Aussie starlet.

*Brazil: Maiden crown claimed *
South American and Copa do Brasil champions Sao Jose were narrowly denied a famous treble as Centro Olimpico claimed a 4-3 aggregate win to be crowned winners of the reinvented national league. Brazil star Cristiane nabbed the winner late on in the second leg after Poliana cancelled out Tamires’ opener for Centro Olimpico. It was a double celebration for Olimpico, with striker Gabi Zanotti hitting a total of 12 goals to finish as the competition’s leading scorer.

*Germany: Frankfurt rebound in style *1.FFC Frankfurt head into the winter break with a healthy six-point lead at the summit after concluding the first part of the season with a 3-0 victory over long-term rivals Turbine Potsdam. Third-placed Wolfsburg are a further two points adrift, albeit with two matches in hand after their visit to Cloppenburg was postponed. This season has marked a return to form for Frankfurt, seven-time German champions, who have been forced to take a back seat in recent times with Wolfsburg reigning European champions and Turbine having won four domestic titles since the current leaders' last win in 2008.
*Top three: Frankfurt (26 points), Turbine Potsdam (20), Wolfsburg (18) *

*Women’s Club Championship: Global celebration for local champs *
INAC Kobe Leonessa have won the invitational Japan-based Women’s World Club Championship with a 4-2 victory over English representatives Chelsea in the final. The Nadeshiko League powerhouse were in commanding form, with Megumi Takase, Beverly Goebel-Yanez, Korea Republic star Ji Soyun and Emi Nakajima all on the scoresheet. Sydney FC finished third thanks to a penalty shoot-out win over 2012 South American champions Colo Colo, with the A-League club progressing to that stage at the expense of the other local participants, NTV Beleza.

*New Zealand: Title pride for Mainland *Mainland Pride claimed their first national league title with a 4-2 comeback victory over Northern Football to deny their opponents a third crown in the season decider in Auckland. A double from New Zealand U-20 representative Belinda van Noorden, along with goals from the league’s top scorer Aimee Phillips and Football Fern midfielder Annalie Longo, secured the win for the Christchurch-based outfit. The victory came despite Northern taking a tenth-minute lead and defeating Mainland 3-1 in their previous meeting during the regular season.

*Australia: No joy for winning Victory *Melbourne Victory claimed a club record 6-0 win over Newcastle Jets to retain top spot but their win was soured by a recurrence of a serious knee injury for midfield starlet Ashley Brown. The 2012 W-League Young Player of the Year tore a ligament just 30 minutes into her return match following a 12-month absence. Caitlin Friend led the scoring charge for the Victory with a hat-trick taking her top of the goalscorers list after four rounds. Brisbane Roar share the summit after Elise Kellond-Knight’s lone goal was enough to edge out fellow title contenders Canberra United in a replay of the 2012 championship decider.
*Top three: Melbourne Victory, Brisbane Roar (both 9), Sydney FC, Canberra United, Perth Glory (all 6) *

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