Lyon and Sydney FC demonstrated the resolve of champions by bouncing from adversity as they seek to retain their respective crowns. In Spain, Barcelona are on track for another title following some erratic form in January. FIFA.com's weekly review also visits Brazil where the domestic cup competition got underway with the meeting of two powerhouses.
*Australia: Sky Blues set new benchmark *Champions Sydney FC endured a turbulent week suffering their first defeat of the season on Wednesday at Canberra United, before rebounding on the weekend. The Sky Blues saw off Western Sydney Wanderers 3-1 in the league’s only intra-city derby, and in the process they reached a new competition season high of 36 goals. English striker Jodie Taylor nabbed a double for Sydney FC to continue her rich vein of form, while at the other end former Australia forward Catherine Cannuli marked her final home match before retirement with a goal from the penalty spot. Canberra leapfrogged second-placed Melbourne Victory in the penultimate round with a comfortable 5-0 win over the youthful Newcastle Jets. The match was also notable for the appearance of popular Matildas’ midfielder Sally Shipard who scored just ten minutes into her return, following a two-year absence with chronic knee problems.
*Top three: Sydney FC (26 points), Canberra United (24), Melbourne Victory (23) *
France: Lyon rebound emphatically
Lyon returned to league action for their first time since their shock defeat against Paris Saint-Germain, with Arras the unlucky victims of the champions’ desire to bounce back. Lyon showed little mercy against the home team winning 11-2, with Switzerland international Lara Dickenmann claiming the goalscoring honours with a hat-trick. PSG stayed on Lyon’s tail with a hard-working 2-0 victory over third-placed Montpellier. Juvisy narrowed the gap on Montpellier thanks to a comfortable 6-1 win at mid-table Rodez, with France striker Gaetane Thiney bagging a double.
*Top three: Lyon (57), PSG (54), Montpellier (47) *
*Spain: Barcelona underline superiority *
Reigning champions Barcelona have moved a step closer to retaining the title after stretching their lead to eight points. Barcelona eased to a 4-0 win over struggling Espanyol with their mini-slump of two draws in three matches fast becoming a distant memory. Second-placed Athletic Bilbao saw their lengthy winning run ended as Rayo Vallecano earned a 2-2 draw away from home with a late equaliser. Valencia and Atletico Madrid were also victors although second place is likely to be the aim now.
*Top three: Barcelona (51), Athletic Bilbao (43), Valencia (41) *
*Brazil: Cup charge begins *
The Copa do Brazil has commenced amid an avalanche of goals. Continental champions Sao Jose were among the notable winners with a 3-0 victory over 2011 Copa queens and 2013 Copa Libertadores qualifiers Fox Catataras in the match of the round. A victory by three goals or more on the road means Sao Jose, like several other first round competitors, are through to the next round without having to play the scheduled return leg in midweek. Sao Jose will now face Sao Paulo’s Rio Preto with the pair notably also meeting in the semi-final of the 2013 Brazilian championship. For losing teams the next fixtures will be the various state competitions.