Key moments in thrilling season
Friday, May 27, 2011
Thursday's final featured the same two clubs as last year but there have been plenty of twists on the way. UEFA.com reviews the shocks, the comebacks and the feats of the season.
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The second UEFA Women's Champions League final had a familiar look as 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam meet Olympique Lyonnais at Craven Cottage on Thursday night, just as they did a year ago in Getafe when the German side won on penalties. But this time Lyon emerged triumphant 2-0 and there were plenty of twists and turns on the road to Fulham and UEFA.com picks out the key moments from this season's competition.
Qualifying round: Apollon humble Umeå
The Group 3 mini-tournament in Limassol produced perhaps the greatest shock in European women's club football. Two-time UEFA Women's Cup winners Umeå IK, the only team to have reached five European finals, had won their opener 3-0 against ASA Tel-Aviv FC when they took on section hosts Apollon Limassol LFC, seeded fourth. Two goals from Alexandra Iusan and one each by Christiana Solomou and Laura Roxana Rus put Apollon 4-1 up after 47 minutes and that was how it stayed, the Cypriot side then beating ASA Tel-Aviv 3-0 to top the group and leave Umeå stunned. Having never before failing to make the last eight, Umeå will be absent from European competition for only the second time next season. Apollon departed with an honourable 4-2 aggregate round of 32 loss to 2009 finalists Zvezda-2005.
Round of 32: German giants show their hand
It was hardly ideal for tournament debutants Åland United and fellow newcomers CSHVSM to draw holders Potsdam and previous champions FCR 2001 Duisburg respectively in the round of 32, and so it proved. Finland's Åland lost 9-0 at home and 6-0 at Potsdam while CSHVSM of Kazakhstan went down 5-0 and 6-0 to Duisburg, Inka Grings claiming four goals in both legs to set an uncatchable pace as tournament top scorer. The German duo would take some beating, as would Lyon – 10-1 aggregate winners against AZ Alkmaar.
Round of 16: Arsenal's comeback queens
Arsenal LFC had opened by defeating Serbia's ŽFK Mašinac PZP 12-1 overall but in the round of 16 had a much stiffer test against Rayo Vallecano de Madrid, conquerors of Valur Reykjavík. And so it proved as the 2007 winners fell 2-0 on their trip to Spain and faced, like Umeå, their first pre quarter-final exit. They picked up in the return as they went three goals up just past the hour but with 12 minutes left Adriana scored an away goal and soon after home defender Gilly Flaherty was sent off. There remained one more twist, though, as in added time, substitute Jennifer Beattie won the tie for Arsenal. In the quarter-finals, Arsenal repeated the trick, coming from behind to draw 1-1 at home to Linköpings FC then in Sweden twice equalising to go through on away goals.
Quarter-finals: Experience tells
In that tie, Arsenal had the benefit of nine European campaigns to Linköping's two. And the more established forces won the other match-ups too. Potsdam were the most emphatic, seeing off France's FCF Juvisy Essonne, newcomers at this stage, 3-0 away and 6-2 at home. Everton, who had impressively knocked out Brøndby IF to earn a maiden quarter-final, found Duisburg a step too far, losing 3-1 at home and 2-1 in Germany. And though Lyon only beat fellow former runners-up Zvezda-2005 1-0 on aggregate, they dominated the entire tie and Lara Dickenmann's brilliant goal an hour into the Stade de Gerland second leg deservedly booked her team's fourth straight semi-final.
Semi-finals: Familiar territory
In 2010, the semi-finals matched Duisburg with Potsdam and Lyon with Umeå. Save for Arsenal replacing the Swedish team, it was virtually the same story as last year, with Duisburg and Lyon again at home in the first legs. To continue the familiar theme, Potsdam won their home return 1-0, though this time their 2-2 draw at Duisburg, rather than a 1-0 reverse, in the first leg meant they did not need penalties to see off their German rivals. For Lyon, Lotta Schelin scored twice in the first 11 minutes of the home first leg watched by 20,123 at Stade de Gerland, a competition record for a game other than a final, and the most to watch a women's match in France. There was no Arsenal comeback in the return as Lyon struck three before the break; Arsenal pulled back two goals but their dream of a final appearance in London was dashed.
Final: Lyon revenge
Lyon were frustrated in 2010 but this time they make a breakthrough on 27 minutes, Wendie Renard forcing the ball in on the rebound after Lotta Schelin's shot was blocked. Potsdam attempted to rally but Dickenmann came off the bench to settle matters late on.