Celebrations in Denmark, poignant scenes Stateside
FIFA.com reviews the latest in women’s club football headlined by some top-of-the-table meetings in USA and a league title in Denmark. There is also news from Norway and Scotland, as well as Sweden where a two-way charge for glory is shaping up.
USA: Spirit and Pride takes centre-stage The NWSL has now reached the halfway point but the jostling at the summit remains intense, with three sides separated by just a point on what was an emotional weekend. Chicago Red Stars maintained their recent good form by putting three unanswered goals past the visiting Boston Breakers to claim an outright grip on top spot. American-born former Mexican international Sofia Huerta bagged a double for the Red Stars, while 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup winner Vanessa Di Bernardo provided the assist for two of her side’s goals. Two second half goals helped Portland Thorns to a crucial win at Western New York Flash, with the home side slipping from first to fourth.
Much of the focus, however, was on Maryland as Washington Spirit collected a 2-0 home win over Orlando Pride. The match will long be remembered for some poignant scenes in the 49th minute. The capacity 5,750 crowd rose to their feet as one to applaud as the ball was passed back to Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, allowing the teams to pause play for 60 seconds to honour the victims of the recent shooting tragedy in Orlando. Top three: Chicago Red Stars (18 points), Portland Thorns, Washington Spirit (both 17)
Sweden: Goal-rush at the summit Any doubts that the Swedish title race will be a two-cornered contest seems to have been well and truly put to rest. Both Rosengard and Linkopings collected hefty wins, while last year’s runners up Eskilstuna United slipped further off the pace. Linkopings currently boast a slim advantage over their title rivals on goal difference thanks in part to a whopping 8-0 win over Vittsjo. The champions, meanwhile, collected a 4-0 win at Umea where notably Marta bagged a goal against her former side. But the Brazilian superstar remains behind a pair of Linkopings’ players on the league’s goalscoring chart. Norwegian forward Pernille Harder sits top ahead of young striking prodigy Stina Blackstenius after the pair grabbed two and three goals respectively against Vittsjo. Top three: Linkopings, Rosengard (both 25), Eskilstuna (16)
Denmark: Jubilee celebrations kick-off for Fortuna Fortuna Hjorring celebrated their 50th year in style by shoring up their ninth league title win on the final day of the season. Adding to the occasion was a 2-1 win over long-term rivals and 2015 champions Brondby. Incredibly, the two clubs have shared the past 15 league championships dating back to Odense’s 2001 victory. Fortuna’s goals came from Sarah Dyrehauge and Frederikke Thogersen, and were sandwiched either side of a lone strike from Brondby’s prolific No9 Nanna Christiansen. Fortuna coach Brian Sorenson stated after the match that his side were deserving winners and must now look to make a strong run in next season’s UEFA Women’s Champions League.
Elsewhere While many league campaigns have now drawn to a close across Europe, the midway point has only just been reached in Norway. It remains a tense three-way tussle headed by Avaldsnes who are two and three points clear of LSK Kvinner and Kolbotn respectively after the trio all won on the weekend. Meanwhile in Scotland, two grand old names met up as Celtic collected a 2-1 win over Glasgow rivals and fellow mid-table side Rangers. But it is Glasgow City – chasing a tenth successive title – who are clear of second-placed Hibernian despite slipping to a shock 3-0 loss against fourth-placed Spartans. It was a poor week for City who lost 2-1 against Hibernian in the midweek League Cup final.