Four hat-tricks, 88 goals and not a stalemate in sight – the UEFA Women's Champions League qualifying round has kicked off in stunning fashion. CFF Olimpia Cluj, Spartak Jaffa and Apollon Limassol LFC were the biggest winners on matchday one, which also brought victories for Glasgow City LFC and Inka Grings' FC Zürich Frauen.
The group winners and two runners-up with the best record against the teams 1st and 3rd in each group will progress to join the 22 top-ranked teams, including holders Olympique Lyonnais, in the draw for the round of 32.
The 16-time Swiss champions Zürich lost their league title and UEFA Women's Champions League spot to BSC Young Boys last season. However, their return, as hosts, produced a winning start, as they beat ŽNK Pomurje Beltinci 2-0 with help from a wonder strike from ex-Duisburg icon and all-time Bundesliga top scorer Inka Grings. Meanwhile, Lithuanians FK Gintra Universitetas lost 3-2 to Ataşehir Belediyespor of Turkey.
Group hosts, Spartak, failed to reach the tournament proper last term. They made a terrific start to this season's campaign after doubles from Marija Radojičić and Mirela Tenkov lifted them to a 7-0 win against NSA Sofia, who "didn't play at even 30% of their capacity" according to coach Stanislava Tsekova. BIIK Shymkent are second after a dramatic 3-0 defeat of Pärnu JK. Alina Litvinenko hit all three – her first coming as late as the 83rd minute.
Despite an excellent start to life in Group 3, 1o de Dezembro coach Nuno Cristovão said he was "happy with the result but not the performance" after the Portuguese side defeated Glentoran Belfast United 4-0. Hosts CFF Olimpia Cluj lead the way in the group, however, after five first-half goals helped them cruise impressively past Birkirkara FC 8-0.
An accomplished performance by Polish champions RTP Unia Racibórz earned them a comprehensive 5-0 victory against hosts ŠK Slovan Bratislava, a win shaped by a Chinasa hat-trick. A double for Tatiana Loginova helped Belarusian outfit FC Bobruichanka match Unia's goal tally in a 5-1 defeat of Montenegrin pioneers Ekonomist.
Israeli champions ASA Tel-Aviv FC strode to the top of the standings with an emphatic 5-0 defeat of Welsh outfit UWIC LFC. Hosts WFC SFK 2000 Sarajevo eased past the Republic of Ireland's Peamount United 4-0, Amela Fetahović scoring twice and all four strikes coming before half-time.
Apollon Limassol qualified with ease at this stage last season, and look to be on course to repeat the feat after the Group 6 hosts defeated KÍ Klaksvík 7-0 thanks to a Laura Rus treble. WFC Kharkiv stormed to the top of the table though, seven different players registering twice as they thrashed KS Ada Velipoje 14-1.
Group hosts ZFK Nase Taksi-SNT 2010 suffered opening-game disappointment, narrowly going down 1-0 to FC PAOK Thessaloniki. MTK Hungária FC top the table after a 5-0 victory against Latvia's FK Skonto, helped by two Fanni Vágó goals.
A first-half hat-trick by Catherine Walker paved the way for PK-35 Vantaa to cruised to a 6-0 triumph against FC Noroc and, according to coach Pauliina Miettinen, "could have scored even more goals". Glasgow, round of 16 participants last term, struggled past Croatians WFC Osijek 3-2 thanks to two-goal Danica Dalziel. "It was difficult for us," admitted Glasgow coach Eddie Wolecki Black.
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