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Duisburg repel Everton threat

FCR 2001 Duisburg 2-1 Everton (agg: 5-2)
Duisburg moved through to their third straight semi-final after goals from Simone Laudehr and Inka Grings ended Everton's best-ever campaign.

FCR 2001 Duisburg 2-1 Everton (agg: 5-2) ©FCR 2001 Duisburg

FCR 2001 Duisburg ensured they made it three European semi-finals in row after holding off a stiff challenge from Everton to progress in the UEFA Women's Champions League.

The 2009 UEFA Women's Cup winners led 3-1 from the first leg in England but were put under early pressure before Simone Laudehr headed Duisburg further ahead on aggregate. Inka Grings, back from illness, converted a penalty for her competition-leading 12th goal of the season before Gwennan Harries struck a late consolation to cap Everton's best-ever European run.

Everton went for broke early on, pinning FCR deep in their half, though not creating many chances save for a Rachel Unitt header. By contrast Duisburg struck with almost their first real opportunity, Laudehr heading Mandy Islacker's corner in at the far post. Despite that setback, Everton continued to press and Jill Scott's shot after a corner was stopped on the line by Sonja Fuss.

Taking no risks, Duisburg were cautious in the second half and comfortably kept Everton at bay before ending all hopes of a comeback with 11 minutes remaining. Fern Whelan held Femke Maes in the visitors' box and Grings made no mistake from the spot. Everton at least had the last word when Nikita Parris produced a fine pass to set Harries clear and the Welsh international shot past Christina Bellinghoven.

Duisburg will be at home in the first leg of the semi-finals on 9/10 and 16/17 April and look set to be rematched with the team that beat them at that stage last season, Frauen-Bundesliga champions 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam, who lead FCF Juvisy Essonne 3-0 ahead of tonight's second leg in Germany.

FCR coach Duisburg coach Marco Ketelaer said: "The pitch was in really bad shape. This was not good for our play. Everton began in very committed fashion and we had some problems. I was not satisfied with our performance. Our goal came out of the blue and I hoped that we would play better after it. But unfortunately we did not. The first leg was much better, but anyway we are happy now to be in the semi-finals."

Visiting manager Mo Marley added: "It was not easy for us because we came here with a 3-1 deficit. We tried everything we could but it was not enough. It is really sad."