Apollon Limassol LFC, MTK Hungária FC and PK-35 Vantaa were the big winners on the opening day of the UEFA Women's Champions League qualifying round but Rayo Vallecano de Madrid needed a late goal to avoid a surprise draw.
Games continue on Saturday and Tuesday, when the eight group winners and two runners-up with the best record against the sides first and third in their section will progress to the round of 32. UEFA.com rounds up Thursday's action.
PAOK FC, who made a narrow round of 32 exit last season, put on a dominant performance to beat CS Galiador-SS 11 Chisinau 3-0 with the outstanding Dimitra Panteliadou scoring on 54 and 62 minutes before Elena Dimitrijević's clincher. Debutants BSC Young Boys, who meet Chisinau on Saturday, overcame Macedonian hosts ZFK Nase Taksi-SNT 2010 3-1. Meret Wälti proved the key, and although her free-kick goal just before the break was cancelled out by Gentjana Rochi, Aline Stöckli and Simone Zahno made sure of victory.
The first-ever Latvian entrants SK Liepājas Metalurgs looked set for a superb result when they held MTK Hungária FC for 44 minutes but then Rita Méry broke the deadlock and seconds before the break Guna Aboliņa was dismissed for a handball for which the Hungarian side's captain converted the penalty. MTK pulled away in the second half, winning 12-0 with Méry and Dóra Papp ending on four apiece. Portuguese hosts SU 1° Dezembro made their pressure tell against ASA Tel-Aviv FC with seven minutes left when substitute Solange Carvalhas turned in Patricia Gouveia's cross only for Moran Lavi to make it 1-1 deep in added time to convert virtually her side's only chance.
A last-gasp Arsenal LFC goal ended Rayo Vallecano de Madrid's campaign in the 2010/11 round of 16 but the Spanish champions were celebrating a late winner this time around as Natalia's 90th-minute effort earned a 1-0 victory against Irish newcomers Peamount United, who trailed 18-3 on the shot count and 12-2 on corners. On Saturday Rayo will take on Estonia's Pärnu JK, who after four previous European entries and 12 straight losses broke their duck and went top by beating Slovenian hosts ŽNK Krka 2-1 through Liisa Lilleste and Anastassia Morkovkina prior to Manja Benak's late consolation.
Romania's CFF Olimpia Cluj made a fine European bow with Cosmina Duşa inspiring a 3-1 defeat of hosts WFC SFK 2000 Sarajevo with two beautiful goals. Olimpia could potentially clinch a round of 32 place on Saturday when they meet FK Gintra Universitetas, who drew 1-1 with Ataşehir Belediyespor thanks to an excellent performance from goalkeeper Ina Boyko frustrating a dominant Turkish outfit.
Glasgow City LFC, frustrated at this stage by FC Bayern München and FCR 2001 Duisburg in the last two seasons, began well by seeing off Serbian hosts ŽFK Spartak 4-0 in an action-packed game, Christie Murray and Katharina Lindner scoring twice. Faroese side KÍ Klaksvík, the only club to have entered all 11 seasons of UEFA women's club competition, edged past Maltese debutants Mosta FC 1-0 thanks to Sofia Purkhús.
Finnish hosts PK-35 Vantaa made a dream start to their first UEFA competition as they won 10-0 against fellow newcomers KS Ada of Albania, Eveliina Parikka scoring four despite only playing the opening half. Vantaa's Saturday opponents ŠK Slovan Bratislava were on the defensive for most of their game against RTP Unia Racibórz but defended bravely and triumphed 1-0 with a Lucia Šušková strike just before the break.
Home side Apollon Limassol LFC starred at this stage last season with their shock elimination of Umeå IK and stole the limelight again with a 14-0 defeat of FC Progrès Niedercorn, who were ending Luxembourg's decade-long absence. Apollon coach Christakis Christoforou only introduced star players Alexandra Iusan and Andreea Laiu after the interval while new Scottish signings Hayley Lauder – who like Laura Roxana Rus scored three – and Frankie-Fantom Brown enjoyed memorable debuts. FC Legenda Chernigiv had to work hard to beat Swansea City LFC 2-0, scoring in the last four minutes through Yulia Kornievets's lob and Olga Melkonyants's header.
FC Bobruichanka opened with an impressive 7-0 defeat of Northern Ireland's Newtownabbey Strikers WFC, the Belarusian champions' skilful attackers controlling the game with Irina Tretiakova scoring three and player-coach Tatiana Lohinava managing two as well as being able to substitute key squad members early to save them for the rest of the mini-tournament. Next up for Bobruichanka are Croatian hosts WFC Osijek, held 1-1 by FC NSA Sofia. Kristina Nevrkla set up Martina Šalek to score a fourth-minute goal for an Osijek side pumped up by loud home support but Valentina Gospodinova eventually equalised early in the second half of a tight game.
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