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Twente beat Standard to win first BeNe League

The first season of the cross-border BeNe League came down to a Dutch-Belgian decider and FC Twente prevailed after beating Standard Femina de Liège 3-1 in front of 9,000 fans.

Sherida Spitse helped Twente to the title
Sherida Spitse helped Twente to the title ©Sportsfile

Appropriately, the first season of the cross-border women's BeNe League came down to a final day Dutch-Belgian decider and it was FC Twente who emerged victorious after beating Standard Femina de Liège 3-1.

Going into the last game, Twente needed victory as they trailed their rivals by a point, and Standard took a 24th-minute lead through captain Maud Coutereels. But the Tukkers proved to be mentally strong and within ten minutes Sherida Spitse had equalised with a beautiful 20-metre drive, her league-leading 11th goal this term.

Standard could have wrapped up the title after the break when Aline Zeler hit the post, yet they fell behind on 73 minutes through Marlous Pieëte. With seven minutes to go, substitute Maayke Heuver then headed a clincher for Twente to allow most of the 9,000 crowd to begin their celebrations. However, as the leading Belgian club, Standard still earn a place in next season's UEFA Women's Champions League alongside Twente.

"Yesterday, we discussed a lot of scenarios regarding what to do in the case of several scorelines," Twente coach Arjan Veurink said. "We weren't going to change anything if we went behind. We didn't change, and luckily we scored the equaliser quickly. I have no words for this; it's fantastic. This smile will not leave my face."

Spitse added: "I took the shot and knew the ball would go in. I hit it perfectly. This is beautiful. We have all worked together towards this. I am extremely happy with this championship in my first FC Twente season. That is what you do it all for."

The showpiece game concluded a successful first campaign for the league. Prior to Christmas, eight sides from each country competed in their national group, with the top four from each section forming Group A, which was won by Twente, in the new year. The rest competed in Group B, dominated by Dutch sides as Telstar pipped PEC Zwolle to top spot.

"We experienced a beautiful ending to a successful first season," said BeNe League manager Ingrid Vanherle. "The BeNe League was a good competition in a good format, with important matches and a nice ending.

"It was real promotion for women's football in Belgium and the Netherlands, with a lot of attention from the press and spectators. It has been an enormous experience for everyone. In Belgium, steps forward have been taken. Women's football is growing, and that was our intention."