Women's Football

Drama, glory and anguish

Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels (L) and Icheon Daekyo (Photo: KFA - Korea Football Association)
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FIFA.com’s weekly look at women’s club football visits three continents where there was no shortage of excitement as silverware was handed out. There is a new name on the Copa Libertadores trophy, although Brazil clubs still reign supreme on the South American continent. There was also a Brazilian flavour in Korea Republic amid a remarkable conclusion to the season. Plus there is also a look at the league season finale in Japan, and the latest from New Zealand.

*Copa Libertadores Femenina: Brazil retain continental supremacy *
Brazil’s Ferroviaria have been crowned South American champions for the first time after a perfect run of five successive wins, capped by a 3-1 victory in the final against 2012 winners Colo Colo on Sunday. The Chileans – the only team to break the Brazilian dominance of the seven-year competition – were the only side to score against the club from Sao Paulo State, for whom Tabatha netted twice in the final. Argentina’s UAI Urquiza edged three-time winners Sao Jose on penalties in the third-place match of the 12-team tournament played over the past fortnight in Medellin, Colombia. There was some joy for the hosts with Formas Intimas striker Catalina Usme finishing as top-scorer with eight goals.

*Korea Republic: Dramatic finale falls way of favourites *It is hard to a imagine a more dramatic conclusion to a league season than that which concluded the six-month WK-League campaign in Korea Republic on Monday. Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels won their third title in a row but only after they netted a 123rd-minute equaliser to force penalties against underdogs Icheon Daekyo. Brazilian Beatriz equalised with virtually the last kick of extra time to cancel out Kim Sangeun’s goal, after the pair had played out a scoreless first leg. The victory sees Incheon Red Angels claim their third title in succession, having been runners-up in the previous four campaigns.

*Japan: Young guns set for big time *Recently crowned champions NTV Beleza concluded the Nadeshiko League season in subdued fashion after being held to a scoreless draw by long-term rivals INAC Kobe Leonessa in a match they dominated. That result allowed Vegalta Sendei to claim outright second with a 2-1 win over dethroned champs Urawa Red Diamonds, a victory secured only by a last-minute winner from Asuka Kakazu. At the other end of the table, bottom side Elfen Saitama are relegated while Nagano Parceiro will step into the top flight for the first time in their history. Speranza Takatsuki and Division two’s Nojima Stella will compete in a two-match play-off. There was also a fascinating battle for the second-tier competition’s leading goalscorer accolade between two Japan stars of the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. Eventually Nagano’s Kumi Yokoyama finished with 35 goals to skip nine goals clear of Nojima’s Yoko Tanaka.
*Top three: NTV Beleza (16 points – Championship series), Vegalta Sendai (12), INAC Kobe Leonessa (10) *

*New Zealand: Goals galore as starlets shine *There were contrasting wins for leaders Northern Football and reigning champions Mainland Pride in a round where 21 goals were scored in just four matches. Northern Football were 2-0 victors over local rivals Auckland Football as Katie Rood netted again for her eighth goal in five outings. But the real action was further south. WaiBOP Football and Mainland played out a barely believable contest as the latter won by the odd goal in 11, with a match-winning double from Monique Barker in the final four minutes the difference. Meanwhile, things are looking promising for the nation’s 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup tilt as the New Zealand Development side won their third match on the trot.
*Top three: Northern Football (15), Mainland Pride (12), New Zealand Development (9) *

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