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Hjørring make dream return to Europe

Fortuna Hjørring coach Flemming Nielsen told uefa.com that "4-0 is a dream result" after their first European fixture in six years ended in an emphatic victory against seasoned campaigners ASD CF Bardolino Verona.

Sine Hovesen (left) takes on Bardolino's Cristiana Girelli
Sine Hovesen (left) takes on Bardolino's Cristiana Girelli ©Fodboldfoto.dk

Fortuna Hjørring's first European fixture since losing the 2002/03 UEFA Women's Cup final to Umeå IK looked tough in the extreme – the visit of Italian champions ASD CF Bardolino Verona. But the Danish titleholders produced a 4-0 victory that puts them in control of their UEFA Women's Champions League round of 32 tie.

Fortuna goals
Bardolino have reached the semi- and quarter-finals in their two UEFA competition entries over the last two seasons, while Hjørring have had a long absence from Europe while Brøndby IF have monopolised the Danish title. But eager to ensure a good lead to take to Verona next Wednesday, Fortuna took a 28th-minute lead through the pacy Chichi Igbo and then an own goal after the break by Valentina Boni was added to by Lise Munk's header and substitute Tanja Christensen As a result thanks to their fine passing combinations and determined performance Hjørring, can already have half an eye on a round of 16 tie against Olympique Lyonnais or ŽFK Mašinac Niš.

Hjørring goalkeeper Heidi Johansen, who made some fine saves to prevent an away goal, told uefa.com: "We played with confidence and determination and I am really proud of the team." Coach Flemming Nielsen added: "Four-nil is a dream result, but we still need to finish the job in Verona next week. Our tactics worked perfectly. We knew they were weak on corners and we took advantage of that. As a team we were compact and defensively we did our job perfectly."

Hopes alive
Bardolino coach Roberto Marchesini is not giving up hope, though, despite the deficit. "We will be looking to improve the team's physical condition as well as setting them up mentally for the crucial second leg on 7 October," he said. "It is still possible for us to go through."