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Brazilian brilliance douses Danes

Brøndby IF 2-3 Umeå IK Marta's late winner gave the Swedish holders a valuable lead in their semi-final.

By Peter Bruun

UEFA Women's Cup holders Umeå IK moved a step closer to their third consecutive final after a 3-2 victory at Danish champions Brøndby IF in the first leg of their semi-final tie.

Early chances
In front of 3,343 spectators at the Brøndby Stadium, the home side - hoping to avenge Fortuna Hjørring's 7-1 aggregate defeat by Umeå in last season's final - made a strong start. Julie Rydahl went close after a corner on four minutes, but soon after Umeå's Laura Kalmari headed just past the post.

Goal apiece
On 20 minutes Umeå took the lead through an own goal as Kalmari's shot after a free-kick was deflected into the Brøndby goal. The advantage only lasted 13 minutes, though, Cathrine Påske heading in an equaliser.

Lead short-lived
With three minutes left in the first half, Brøndby's speedy striker Anne Jørgensen was brought down in the area, and captain Ditte Andersen made it 2-1 from the spot. But Umeå were determined not to trail at the break, and Jessica Julin headed in a corner to level matters at half-time.
 
Cautious half
The second half was a more cautious affair, as both teams tired and Umeå sought to ensure they did not fall behind ahead of their home leg. The visitors did go close through Julin and Brazilian international Marta, who only joined Umeå in January, while at the other end Jannie Lund and Andersen were both denied by goalkeeper Sofia Lundgreen.

Marta winner
With eleven minutes left, though, it was Umeå who won it as Marta endeared herself to her new fans as she controlled the ball with the outside of her left foot and then with her right sent a magnificent shot into the roof of the Brøndby net which gave goalkeeper Tine Cederkvist no chance.

Tough task
Andersen was understandably disappointed with the result, her side now virtually certain to need a two-goal victory in Sweden in the second leg on Sunday 4 April against opponents who have never lost on Swedish soil in this competition and whose last home domestic league defeat came in July 2000.

'Still a hope'
"I feel we matched them completely, but we gave two stupid goals away in the first half, and thereby we have put ourselves in a bad position before the second leg," she said. "I still believe in our chances, however - there is definitely still a hope of qualifying for the final."

 

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