Fortuna Hjørring announced themselves as UEFA Women's Champions League contenders with a stunning 8-0 defeat of ASD Bardolino Verona and five-goal Cathrine Paaske-Sørensen was thrilled.
Paaske-Sørensen only signed for Fortuna this summer, two years after leaving arch-rivals Brøndby IF for spells in Sweden, Australia and the United States. On her debut on Sunday, reigning champions Fortuna beat Brøndby 2-1 to maintain their perfect start to the season and they followed it up on Wednesday with a stunning round of 32 first-leg win against one-time semi-finalists Bardolino.
"I am so happy – I have not scored that many goals in a match since I was a kid," Paaske-Sørensen told UEFA.com. "Now I want to be the top scorer in this competition."
Hjørring have a good record in Europe: they reached the UEFA Women's Cup final on their 2002/03 debut and on their second appearance last season knocked out Bardolino 5-2 on aggregate at this stage en route to the last 16. However, this result against a team who won all three of their qualifying round games, totalling 14 goals, suggests Fortuna could go further, even if coach Flemming Nielsen said they had a lucky escape early on.
"This could have been a totally different match had Bardolino scored their one-on-one chance after just two minutes," Nielsen said. "But then we scored two quick goals just after and that tipped the match in our favour. At half-time I told our players to keep up the pressure and keep pressing Bardolino, whose current form reflects the fact their season has not started yet. Now we should proceed from this round and although we will not take things lightly we have confidence in ourselves."
Assuming Fortuna do not collapse in Italy on 13 October, they will face Kazakhstan's CSHVSM or former champions FCR 2001 Duisburg in the round of 16 in November.
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