UEFA Women's Cup holders Arsenal LFC and ASD CF Bardolino Verona have won through to the quarter-finals while 1. FFC Frankfurt are on the verge of joining them.
UEFA Women's Cup holders Arsenal LFC and ASD CF Bardolino Verona have won through to the quarter-finals with a game to spare while two-time European champions 1. FFC Frankfurt are on the verge of joining them thanks to a dramatic victory against Everton LFC.
In Group B1, hosts Arsenal and Italian title-holders Bardolino both won on Matchday 1 and knew victories today in St Albans would ensure them top-two finishes whatever Tuesday's concluding results. Arsenal, who overcame Alma 4-0 in their first game, were even more convincing this time as they struck seven without reply against Austria's SV Neulengbach. Jayne Ludlow opened the scoring from distance on nine minutes but the game was really decided in a four-minute spell either side of the half-hour as Julie Fleeting's header, Ludlow's second strike, Karen Carney’s lob another Fleeting effort put Arsenal firmly in control. Katie Chapman and Ciara Grant completed the victory in the second period, and Bardolino followed that up with a 5-1 defeat of Alma to ensure their Tuesday meeting with the Gunners will only be for first place, with Arsenal currently ahead on goal difference.
Frankfurt on top
Arsenal’s English rivals Everton began their Group B3 campaign with a 2-1 loss to Belgian hosts FCL Rapide Wezemaal, but they had hopes of a dramatic recovery today when Fara Williams put them into a third-minute lead against Frankfurt. Birgit Prinz equalised just before the half-hour, however, and as it seemed Everton would hold on for a point Conny Pohlers secured a 2-1 win for Frankfurt in added time. Valur Reykjavík, beaten by Frankfurt on Thursday, moved into second place ahead of Wezemaal as they overcome the hosts 4-0. Katrín Jónsdóttir and Málfrídur Sigurdardóttir scored early in the second half and Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir added goals on 69 and 90 minutes. Frankfurt need only draw with Wezemaal on Tuesday to qualify as group winners, while Everton must overcome Valur by three goals to have any chance of finishing second.
Olympique Lyonnais and Brøndby IF, who drew their Group B4 curtain-raiser at the Stade de Gerland on Thursday, both secured victory today. Lyon, like Everton in their debut European season, delighted a crowd of nearly 1,000 with a 1-0 defeat of last season’s semi-finalists Kolbotn IL courtesy of an early goal by Camille Abily. Brøndby, who also reached the last four in 2006/07, saw off AC Sparta Praha 2-1 as substitute Lene Jensen struck with eight minutes left. Kolbotn now must defeat Brøndby on Tuesday to go through while Lyon need a point against eliminated Sparta to be sure of progress – with the group runners-up to meet the winners of Arsenal’s pool.
Group B2 continues on Sunday, with Swedish hosts Umeå IK and WFC Rossiyanka of Russia having respectively defeated CFF Clujana and WFC Universitet Vitebsk 3-1 on Thursday. Umeå, who missed out on a third European crown in last season's final, meet Vitebsk of Belarus tomorrow while Rossiyanka take on Romania's Clujana.