Bardolino do Verona proud

Italian champions ASD CF Bardolino Verona are only 12 years only but are already in their second European campaign and yet to concede a goal.

With the second qualifying round of the UEFA Women's Cup starting next month, is taking a detailed look at each of the 16 clubs looking to progress to the quarter-finals and beyond. Today, we focus on Italian champions ASD CF Bardolino Verona.

Bardolino are only 12 years old but they immediately began their rise to the top of Italian football by winning the Regional Veneto League in 1995/96, meaning a very young side coached by Romano Cucconi earned promotion to Serie B. The following season the Verona-based team won their second consecutive promotion, became the only team from Serie B ever to reach the women's Coppa Italia semi-final and finally moved to the new Stadio Calmasino for their top-flight debut. Bardolino finished seventh in their first Serie A season and then became established in the top five, also reaching the 2000/01 Coppa Italia final, losing 1-0 to Torres Terra Sarda.

European bow
A year later they turned the table on Torres in the cup final thanks to a 3-2 extra-time win with goals from Chiara Battistoli, Moira Placchi and Valentina Boni. It was not until 2004/05 that Bardolino claimed their first league crown, with Boni finishing as top scorer. However, their subsequent European debut in the UEFA Women's Cup was bittersweet, as they beat ŽNK Maksimir 2-0 and University College Dublin WFC 3-0 before drawing 0-0 with SV Neulengbach, only to be pipped to the next stage by the Austrian champions on goal difference.

Another title
ASD Fiammamonza took the league title off Bardolino in 2005/06 but the Verona club regained the championship by a 13-point margin last season and completed the double with a penalty shoot-out win against league runners-up Torino ACF in the cup final with United States-born goalkeeper Anna Maria Picarelli saving three spot-kicks. In their return to the UEFA Women's Cup, Bardolino kept up their record of never conceding a goal as they defeated Maltese champions Birkirkara FC 16-0, Slovenian hosts ŽNK KRKA Novo Mesto 5-0 and Spain’s Athletic Club BFKEB 1-0 to reach the second qualifying round, where they will play in a group staged by holders Arsenal LFC.