Fishlock keeps faith in Alkmaar ability

AZ Alkmaar's Welsh midfielder Jessica Fishlock told that the Dutch champions were unfortunate to lose the home first leg of their round of 32 tie with Brøndby IF 2-1 but warned "it's not over yet".

Jessica Fishlock is hopeful that AZ can reach the round of 16
Jessica Fishlock is hopeful that AZ can reach the round of 16 ©Ed van de Pol / AZ Media

It has been a bit of a whirlwind for Jessica Fishlock over the last week. On 23 September she inspired Wales to their best-ever result at female senior level, a 2-0 FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying defeat of the Czech Republic, and a week later helped her Dutch club AZ Alkmaar push Brøndby IF all the way in the first leg of their UEFA Women's Champions League round of 32 tie.

Narrow defeat
AZ always had a tough task against a visiting side who regularly reached the last eight of the UEFA Women's Cup, and were two down on 35 minutes to goals from Nanna Christiansen and Emma Madsen. However, the side coached by Ed Engelkes, assistant to Vera Pauw in the Netherlands' run to the UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ semi-finals – when they knocked out Denmark – pulled a goal back through Dionne Demarteau's long-range effort before the break, but were not able to level the tie ahead of Wednesday's second leg.

Too late
Fishlock told "I think in the first 25 minutes of the second half we were too slow and that was the reason why we lost today. The first 25 minutes we were not as good as we can be. We went forward again at the later stage of the second half, but it was too late."

The 22-year-old midfielder admitted that Brøndby gave the Eredivisie Vrouwen titleholders a tough game. "They are a very strong side," she said. "They keep the ball well, but they did not surprise us. We were well prepared and we did as much as we could but lost in the end. We lost 2-1 but we were the better side; we deserved to get something from the game, not to lose. Much depends on how we prepare for the next game but I am confident it's not over yet."

'Fantastic experience'
Formerly with English side Bristol Academy WFC, Fishlock moved to Alkmaar in September 2008 and the only foreign player in their squad has not looked back. "It is a fantastic experience," she said. "Last season was brilliant. We won the league and got here [into Europe]."

Wales rise
She is also enjoying Wales's rise, with their defeat of the Czech Republic their first win in the top tier of international competition. "We were brilliant and the best side as well," Fishlock said. "Everyone played as well as I have ever seen. If we continue to play at that level there is no reason why we cannot go up the ranks in 18 months. We do not have much chance of qualifying for the World Cup but I am looking to the next Women's Championship campaign, where we can qualify."