Women’s leagues around the world continue to deliver drama and excitement. In Sweden, two old adversaries are not only going head-to-head for the championship but will also face each other in the cup final. Elsewhere, Portland Thorns have taken the upper hand in the land of the world champions, while Atletico de Madrid Feminas are celebrating a historic triumph in Spain. FIFA.com brings you all the latest from the world of women’s club football.
USA: Portland flying high
Portland are beginning to pull away from their rivals in the NWSL table. The Thorns followed up a 2-0 victory over Chicago Red Stars – with goals from Christine Sinclair and Nadia Nadim – by beating Orlando Pride 2-1 to extend their unbeaten run to 11 matches. Orlando initially looked on course for three points after Jasmyne Spencer gave the Florida side a 1-0 lead in the second half. The held the advantage until ten minutes from time, when first Dagny Brynjarsdottir and then Lindsey Horan struck to deliver Portland’s sixth win of the campaign. Late goals seem to be something of a speciality for the Thorns, who have already scored six times in the last 15 minutes of games this season.
Elsewhere, a hat-trick from Jessica McDonald and a brace from Lynn Williams got Western New York Flash firmly back to winning ways with a 7-1 dismantling of Boston Breakers after their 2-0 reverse to Portland the previous week. Makenzy Doniak and Taylor Smith also got their names on the scoresheet for the Flash while Christen Westphal netted a consolation goal for the Massachusetts outfit.
Top three: Portland Thorns (23 points), Chicago Red Stars, Western New York Flash (both 18)
Sweden: Rosengard and Linkopings set for another cup showdown
In Sweden, life is looking good for Rosengard after the reigning champions first defeated Pitea 2-1 to reach the final of the Svenska Cupen and then went on to rack up their ninth win in ten league games. Marta once again took centre stage, providing a constant threat and stream of inch-perfect passes as she and her team-mates secured a narrow 1-0 win over Eskilstuna United. Fittingly, the only goal of the game was scored by the Brazilian superstar.
That said, Rosengard are not the only Swedish club running like clockwork at present. Linkopings beat Eskilstuna 1-0 to join their perennial rivals in the cup final and set up a repeat of the meeting won by Rosengard in 2015. And if that were not impressive enough, Linkopings' latest 1-0 win over Kopparbergs/Goteborg means they currently occupy top spot in the league.
At the other end of the table, Kristianstads can finally catch their breath, with Elisabet Gunnarsdottir’s side beating Mallbackens 1-0 to move out of the relegation places into ninth spot.
*Top three: Linkopings, Rosengard (both 28), Eskilstuna United (16) *
Spain: Historic win for Atletico Madrid
Atletico de Madrid Feminas lifted the Copa de la Reina for the first time in the club’s history this week. Despite eventually beating holders Barcelona 3-2, the capital city team were made to sweat for much of the second half as they sought to defend an early 3-0 lead. Angela Sosa opened the scoring for coach Angel Villacampa’s side in the fifth minute before Silvia Meseguer (15’) and Esther Gonzalez (30’) extended their advantage. Barcelona battled back after the break, reducing the deficit to 3-2 thanks to a brace from Jenni Hermoso (58’, 64’ pen), before Atletico regained the upper hand to close out the victory.
“We’re very happy,” said victorious midfielder Amanda Sampedro after their triumph. “Football has rewarded us for all our hard work this season with this cup win.”
In other leagues
After almost a month’s break, league games resumed in England this week. While leaders Manchester City could only manage a 1-1 draw with Liverpool, Arsenal’s resounding 5-1 victory over Sunderland lifted the Londoners into fourth place and reignited their bid for championship glory. Elsewhere, Notts County beat bottom-of-the-table Doncaster 2-1. Meanwhile the picture in Norway remains unchanged after the 12th round of matches. Avaldsnes preserved their lead at the top of the standings with a 6-0 thrashing of Urædd, while their closest rivals LSK Kvinner and Kolbotn remain two and three points adrift respectively after beating Klepp and Arna-Bjornar 2-0.