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Relieved Potsdam scrape top spot

Published: Sunday 17 September 2006, 14.38CET
Group 3 review: The 2006 runners-up 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam and Saestum advanced from a pool which proved the tightest of the four second qualifying round groups.
Published: Sunday 17 September 2006, 14.38CET

Relieved Potsdam scrape top spot

Group 3 review: The 2006 runners-up 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam and Saestum advanced from a pool which proved the tightest of the four second qualifying round groups.

1. FFC Turbine Potsdam and Saestum made it through from UEFA Women's Cup Group 3, the tightest of the second qualifying round pools.

Dramatic finale
Uniquely, any of three teams could still have claimed the two available quarter-final slots before today's concluding fixtures in the Netherlands. KFC Rapide Wezemaal could have progressed with victory against Saestum, only to miss out altogether as the Dutch side won 2-0 to establish a meeting with Swedish outfit Umeå IK in what will be their first quarter-final appearance. Yet Saestum were dramatically denied first place by Potsdam after their 4-0 victory against Sparta saw them narrowly claim first on goal difference. Last season's beaten finalists now face Brøndby IF.

Potsdam relief
That Potsdam, victors in 2005 and defeated finalists this May, would be in for a difficult time was proved in the opening match when they were held by Wezemaal of Belgium until a 78th-minute Conny Pohlers goal gave the German champions victory. Saestum therefore wrested early control as they overcame 2005/06 quarter-finalists AC Sparta Praha 3-1 thanks to goals from Shirley Smith, Anouk Hoogendijk and Gilanne Louwaars. Monika Matysova saw red for the Czechs in the 83rd minute.

Wezemaal comeback
Sparta were on course to revive their campaign two days later as Petra Bertholdova and Iva Mocová struck within eight minutes against Wezemaal, who recovered to win through strikes from Femke Maes, Annelies Timmermans, Hanne Van De Goor and Karen Meeus. The latter came following Lucie Martinkova's second booking and dismissal. Potsdam and Saestum then met looking to seal top spot in the section, only to share the spoils following an entertaining 2-2 draw. Twice Saestum led in the first half, through Louwaars and then Manon van den Boogard, but each time Pohlers quickly brought Potsdam back on level terms.

Potsdam go top
It was all to play for going into the final round of fixtures but it would ultimately be Potsdam who would win the group and Wezemaal who would miss out on the last eight. Isabel Kerschowski, Ariane Hingst, Pohlers and Aferdita Kameraj struck without reply as Potsdam leapfrogged Saestum by one goal in the standings after the Dutch side managed just a 2-0 win - Louwaars and Hoogendijk on target - against Wezemaal.

Last updated: 18/09/06 16.04CET

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