Naftokhimik lead way as race gathers pace

WFC Naftokhimik are the first team through from the UEFA Women's Cup first qualifying round but elsewhere an exciting set of deciding matches are in prospect on Tuesday in the other eight groups.

Zürich produced a dramatic win to keep their campaign ticking
Zürich produced a dramatic win to keep their campaign ticking ©Fedja Krvavac

WFC Naftokhimik are now through from the UEFA Women's Cup first qualifying round but elsewhere an exciting set of deciding matches are in prospect on Tuesday in the other eight groups. rounds up the Matchday 2 action.

Group A1
Russian champions Zvezda-2005 won their debut European fixture 8-0 against Gintra Universitetas and proved it was no fluke as they ran up the same scoreline to defeat Faorese side Klaksvíkar Ítróttarfelag KÍ. Nataliya Zinchenko and Olesya Kurochkina – who claimed five goals on Thursday – scored in the first half and both added another after the break. Following an own goal, Alla Lishafai, Natalia Barbashina and Anna Korovushkina completed the scoring in the last 20 minutes. They now lead by three points as Lithuanian hosts Gintra Universitetas beat Hungary's 1. FC Femina 2-0. Femina meet Zvezda on Tuesday but to pip them to the next round they must win by a six-goal margin. Ginta play KÍ but cannot go through due to their opening loss to Zvezda.

Group A2
AZ Alkmaar and Glasgow City LFC both moved ahead of ZFK Mašinac Niš as three sides ended Matchday 2 separated by just one point. Mašinac led the group on Thursday having beaten FC Narta Chisinau 15-1 while the other two teams were drawing 1-1. But Glasgow beat the Serbian group hosts 4-0 today. Katharine Lindner's 17th-minute opener was followed by two goals before the break by Jane Brown and Ruesha Littlejohn added another just after half-time. AZ edged in front of the Scottish champions on goal difference with a 7-0 defeat of Narta. Chantal de Ridder scored four goals, Claudia van den Heiligenberg struck twice and Sharon Kok was also on target. Alkmaar coach Ed Engelkes said: "Given the heat, my players did superbly. This Tuesday we are really dependent on the other match. It is hoped that Glasgow City do not score too many goals against eliminated Narta. We must also win comfortably against ZFK." Alternatively, if Niš are to go through they must beat AZ on Tuesday and hope Glasgow fail to defeat Narta.

Group A3
Levante UD and AC Sparta Praha will face off for first place on Tuesday after both gained their second win of the mini-tournament in Strumica. Sparta defeated Macedonian hosts ŽFK Shkiponjat 9-0 while Levante, who had won by the same scoreline against those opponents on Thursday, beat Belgium's KVK Tienen 9-2. Levante's goal difference advantage means they need only a draw in their decisive game while 2005/06 quarter-finalists Sparta must win.

Group A4
Having lost 2-0 to Norwegian hosts Røa IL in their opener, FC Honka Espoo needed to bounce back with victory against FC NSA Sofia in a group reduced to three teams by FC Iveria's withdrawal. And the Finnish champions rose to their task, Anna Helenius striking on nine minutes and Maiju Routsalainen then claimed a quickfire hat-trick with goals in the eleventh, 13th and 15th minutes. Maija Saari made it five late in the half and Anna Helenius wrapped up a 6-0 win with 14 minutes left. Honka coach Marko Saloranta said: "I'm satisfied with our play today, especially the first 20 minutes. In the last game against Røa we played too many long balls which isn't our way of playing but today we kept the ball more. I think my players played well today with a special mention for our captain, Maja Saari, and Anna Westerlund." However, for Honka to progress they need Røa to lose to Sofia on Tuesday – though a ten-goal victory would mean progress for NSA.

Group A5
Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir was again on top form for Valur Reykjavík as they followed up their 8-1 win against Cardiff City LFC with a 6-2 defeat of Slovakian hosts FK Slovan Duslo Šaľa. However, the Icelandic champions still need a point against Maccabi Holon FC on Tuesday as the Israeli side overcame Cardiff 2-1. Diana Redman's long-range strike gave Holon an early lead and Rhian Nokes made it two on 19 minutes; Zoe Atkins quickly pulled one back and Cardiff pushed hard for an equaliser but it was not to be for the Welsh side.

Group A6
Alma KTZH and CFF Clujana produced second victories and their game on Tuesday in Croatia will be decisive. Kazakhstan's Alma moved ahead on goal difference as they defeated Glentoran Belfast United 8-0; Clujana secured a 3-1 win against hosts WFC Osijek, who had their goalkeeper sent off.

Group A7
SV Neulengbach took control of the group on home soil in Austria with an 8-0 defeat of Cypriot representatives Vamos Idaliou to follow up a 6-0 victory against ŽNK KRKA. Maria Gstöttner and Nadine Prohaska struck on 17 and 22 minutes respectively and Birgit Gumpenberger added another just before half-time. Natascha Celouch increased the lead just after the break before Daniela Tasch made it five on 57 minutes and late on Nina Burger – a hat-trick scorer on Thursday – added two more either side of a Gumpenberger strike. Portugal's SU 1° Dezembro, who defeated Vamos 7-1 on Thursday, found life tougher against KRKA as they needed a last-minute Helga Lima equaliser to secure a 1-1 draw after Dragica Stipić had put the Slovenian team in front midway through the second half. Neulengbach would go through with a point on Tuesday against 1° Dezembro, who must win.

Group A8
Naftokhimik secured first place as on-loan FC Indiana midfielder Aivi Luik – who scored the only goal against Polish hosts KŚ AZS Wrocław on Thursday – repeated the trick with eleven minutes left against FC PAOK. The Ukrainian side went through as Wrocław saw off FC Levadia Talinn 4-0 with two Anna Żelazko goals and one each from Natasza Górnicka and Patrycja Pożerska. Both Wrocław and PAOK are three points behind Naftokhimik, they cannot overtake them after they meet on Tuesday due to their head-to-head record against Naftokhimik, who face FC Levadia Tallinn. In the second stage from 9-14 October, Naftokhimik will be in Group B4 against Brøndby IF, FCR 2001 Duisburg and Sparta or Levante, competing for two quarter-finals berths.

Group A9
Galway LFC and FC Zürich Frauen will play off for first place on Tuesday after both sides won their second games in Bosnia-Herzegovina following opening draws. Zürich gained a dramatic 3-2 victory against hosts ŽNK SFK 2000 Sarajevo despite twice conceding the lead. Sandra Betschart finished off a fine combination involving Ramona Lendenmann and Bettina Baer on 22 minutes to give the Swiss competition debutants a deserved lead but the home side levelled early in the second half. Vanessa Bernauer turned in Selina Zumbühl's corner just before the hour mark and Baer hit the post but again Sarajevo equalised. However in the last minute Sanja Mijovic, on for Baer, struck from 12 metres out to give Zürich the points. Galway, though, will only need a draw against Zürich as they won 2-0 against Belarussian side WFC Universitet Vitebsk.