FC Bayern München overcame a scare to make a winning start to their European debut as the qualifying round of the new UEFA Women's Champions League got under way on Thursday.
The successor to the UEFA Women's Cup features the runners-up of the eight top-ranked nations in the 28 clubs in the initial stage and all secured victory, WFC Rossiyanka and Linköpings FC racking up eleven goals each. With games to come on Saturday and Tuesday, the seven winners of the one-venue mini-tournaments join UEFA Women's Cup holders FCR 2001 Duisburg and the champions of the 24 top-ranked nations in the Round of 32 draw on 14 August. Click on the group names for full results.
Group 1 (Lithuania)
Glasgow City LFC gave Bayern a tough examination before succumbing 5-2. Katharina Würmseer and Julia Simic put Bayern into a 2-0 lead at the break. Jane Ross pulled one back and with 13 minutes left substitute Ruesha Littlejohn equalised, only for Simic to reply within seconds and Nina Aigner and replacement Nicole Banceki made victory safe. Georgia's FC Norchi Dinamoeli Tbilisi, who face Bayern on Saturday, lost 7-1 to hosts Gintra Universitetas FC with both Ana Alekperova and Galina Komarova scoring twice.
Group 2 (FYR Macedonia)
Montpellier Hérault SC, semi-finalists in 2005/06, edged to a 2-0 win against Faroese champions KÍ Klaksvík with Elodie Ramos striking on 51 and 69 minutes, the second a penalty. FC NSA Sofia, who take on KÍ next, lead the way after beating hosts ZFK Tikvesanka 5-0, Verica Georgieva claiming two goals.
Group 3 (Denmark)
Brøndby IF, twice UEFA Women's Cup semi-finalists, took well to the new competition with a 5-0 win against Cardiff City LFC. Sanne Nielsen, Mia Olsen and Emma Madsen claimed first-half goals and Ditte Larsen and Theresa Nielsen also found the target after the break. Portugal's SU 1° Dezembro overcame Malta's Birkirkara FC 10-0 with eight different names on the scoresheet including two own goals.
Group 4 (Slovenia)
Italy's ASD Torres Calcio made a winning start but only after new signing Patrizia Panico's 88th-minute goal earned a 1-0 victory against Slovakian side FK Slovan Duslo Šaľa. Group hosts ŽNK Krka were beaten 2-0 by Turkey's first-ever representatives in European women's competition, Trabzonspor, who face Torres on Saturday in a potential group decider. Khatia Tchkonia and Özlem Önder struck before the break.
Group 5 (Sweden)
Linköping are hoping to emulate the success of Swedish rivals Umeå IK on their debut European season, and on home territory struck eleven without reply against Moldova's FC Roma Calfa, also making their continental bow. Ida Brännström starred with five goals. The other match was much closer with Cosmina Dusa's last-minute goal giving Roman's CFF Clujana a 1-0 win against Northern Ireland's Glentoran Belfast United.
Group 6 (Cyprus)
Russia had their first finalists last season in Zvezda-2005 and their main domestic rivals Rossiyanka, who reached the last eight in 2007/08, opened with an 11-0 win against Irish champions Saint Francis FC. An eight-minute Emueje Oghiabeva hat-trick was the highlight of a seven-goal first half but the second period belonged to the striker's replacement, Elena Danilova, as she scored four to continue her comeback from serious injury. Host club Apollon Limassol LFC, on their European debut, defeated Israel's Maccabi Holon FC 4-0 and face Rossiyanka on Saturday with both sides able to clinch qualification with a win if the other result goes their way.
Group 7 (Croatia)
Hosts WFC Osijek made a great start against England's Everton LFC when Dušanka Juko gave them a sixth-minute lead and Fara Williams missed a penalty late in the first half. Early substitute Toni Duggan, fresh from winning the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship under club manager Mo Marley, equalised on 55 minutes and Everton went on to prevail 3-1 as Vanesa Zloša put through an own goal and Williams scored with 15 minutes left. Marley told uefa.com: "We had a slow start as we struggled with the hot weather conditions (35C). But Half-time helped us regroup and correct what needed fixing. After the interval we dominated the play and were the deserved winners in the end."
Group G is the only pool with two league runners-up and Norway's Team Strømmen FK, in Europe for the first time, are top of the pool after beating FC Levadia Tallinn 5-0. Cathrine Dekkerhus and Una Nwatjei both scored twice with Nasra Abdullah also on target. In this, as in every pool apart from Groups D and F, the two teams on three points do not meet until Matchday 3.
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