The quarter final first legs in the Women’s Champions League did not disappoint, with four games of huge quality on display.
In the story of the day, the reigning champions Olympiacos fell at home with a 11-9 defeat to a quite outstanding Mataro side. Dani Ballart’s team defended heroically at one end, but were in sublime form in front of goal at the other end. The defeat for Olympiacos is their first of the season.
Meanwhile Sabadell claimed a 15-10 victory against SIS Roma, in an impressive display from the reigning Spanish champions. David Palma’s team found themselves out-ahead early on, but faced some problems from Roma’s dangerous front-line. In the end, a five goal lead will do them no harm, as they look to progress to the semi-finals, and fight for a sixth European title.
Attila Mihok’s Dunaujvaros played a really smart game in Barcelona against Mediterrani, and came away with a four-goal lead to defend going into the second leg (13-9). It was a super team effort from the 2020 runners up, and they will be really confident that they can hold off Mediterrani, who today started on the wrong foot and never recovered. Medi are still capable of pulling off a comeback, but it will be an extremely tough task against one of Europe’s powerhouses.
In the last game of the day, Ekipe held off two fierce comebacks from Glyfada to win 14-13. The most successful club in European Cup history found themselves six goals to the good at one point, but you can never take anything for granted against Theodoros Andreakos’s gritty Glyfada. Ekipe will back themselves to finish the job, meanwhile despite losing, Glyfada will head to Catania with their heads held high, only one goal behind.
The quarter-final second legs are scheduled for 25th February.
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Women’s Champions League Quarter-finals, 1st leg
Astralpool Sabadell 15 – 10 SIS Roma (4-1, 4-3 3-4, 4-2)
Sabadell: L. Ester, M. Ortiz, P. Leiton, S. Van der Sloot 4, M. Serrano, M. Steffens, E. Ruiz 4, M. Garcia Godoy 1, J. Forca 3, B. Ortiz 2, N. Perez, I. Gonzalez 1, M. Carrasco
Roma: E. Eichelberger, L. Papi, G. Galardi 1, S. Carosi, S. Giustini 2, D. Picozzi, C. Tabani 1, C. Nardini 1, L. Di Claudio, A. Cocchiere 1, A. Andrews 4, G. Galbani
Sabadell took their quarter-final first leg by storm today, dominating SIS Roma with a brilliant 15-10 victory at Can Llong. The Spanish champions proved their prowess, leaving their opponents in the dust with a five-goal cushion as they head to Rome for the second leg.
Dutch International Sabrina Van der Sloot and rising star Elena Ruiz shone bright, both netting a stunning four goals each. Judith Forca added fuel to the fire with a hat-trick from the right wing, and the return of Maggie Steffens after a 9-month injury hiatus only added to the Spanish powerhouse’s impressive display.
SIS Roma’s star player Abby Andrews put up a fight, scoring four goals in the match, but it was not enough to overcome the Spanish juggernaut. Sofia Giustini chipped in with two goals, but SIS Roma could not shake off their sluggish start and will have a tough time overturning the deficit in two weeks’ time.
Sabadell came out of the gates strong, controlling the game and limiting a timid-looking SIS Roma side. With the Romans playing deep, Ruiz took advantage of the time and space to score the game’s opening goal. Bea Ortiz followed suit, and Van der Sloot’s double score from both wings only added to Sabadell’s dominant lead. The only bright spot for the Romans was Cocchiere’s beautiful backshot goal in the first quarter.
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SIS Roma improved in the second quarter, but they still found themselves trailing at half-time. Giustini and Andrews both scored from range, and while Giustini’s penalty goal brought Roma to within one (6-5), Sabadell replied with three consecutive scores (Ruiz 2, Ortiz) to pull away once more (8-4).
The game continued to flow, and SIS Roma made a push. Andrews’ two exquisite goals kept her team in the game. Chiara Tabani’s beautiful 6m foul shot off the post brought Roma within one score for the second time in the match. Despite David Palma’s team adding more goals to their tally, they only led by three heading into the last quarter (11-8).
But Sabadell sealed the deal in the final period, dominating with eight incredible minutes that may have just decided the entire tie. Forca and Van der Sloot both scored with extra-player moves, while Ruiz and Maica Garcia finished off powerful attacking plays. Despite Nardini and Andrews finding late goals for the Romans, it looks like those scores will not be enough to make a significant impact in the second leg in Rome.
Olympiacos 9 – 11 CN Mataro (2-5, 2-0, 2-4, 3-2)
Olympiacos: C. Diamantopoulou, E. Plevritou, I. Chydirioti, N. Eleftheriadou, F. Tricha, E. Xenaki, C. Siouti, M. Plevritou, S. Tornarou, V. Plevritou, K. Christmas, M. Myriokefalitaki
Mataro: E. Sanchez, S. Morell, S. Van de Kraats, A. Gual, V. Sevenich, R. Keszthelyi-Nagy 1, C. Cambray, C. Nogue, S. Avegno 2, Q. Bertran, R. Gurri, M. Claveria, E. Carmona Herrera
Mataro stunned Olympiacos by winning the first leg of their quarter-final tie 11-9 in Piraeus.
In one of the great performances this season in the women’s game, Mataro outplayed Olympiacos, and deserved the win every bit. The Spaniards defended amazingly, supported by their outstanding keeper, Elena Sanchez. Up front, they took chances with extreme cool. Van de Kraats was typically deadly in front of goal with four scores; Avegno, Keszthelyi and Morell did not disappoint either.
Olympiacos were not at their best, but they were well beaten. They missed two penalties on the night, and countless other opportunities. You can guarantee, however, they will do everything they can to keep hold of their title; they will be hurting from this defeat, and will hit back at Mataro hard in the second leg.
In beating the reigning champions, though, Mataro hands the Red-Whites their first defeat of the season in all competitions.
There is a long way to go, and a whole game to be played. But with a two goal cushion, Mataro are in an unbelievable position to progress to the semi-finals. It’s all in their hands.
In the game itself, Olympiacos came out the blocks with a typically aggressive press, but Mataro, with their all-star attacking line-up, found a way past the Olympiacos defence.
The Setterosa’s Silvia Avegno (Mataro) scored the first two goals of the game. The first was slightly fortunate, but the second was a wonderful solo goal. Olympiacos hit back when Vasiliki Plevritou buried her penalty, but Mataro had their two goal lead back courtesy of a classic Rita Keszthelyi lob to the far post.
Vasiliki Plevritou again netted for Olympiacos, with her subtle movement breaking down Mataro’s zone defence, but the Spaniards led by three goals going into the second quarter, with two goals on the breakaway from Simone Van de Kraats inside the last forty seconds giving Aleksandar Ciric’s team something to think about (5-2).
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Olympiacos certainly tightened up in the second period, as they kept their free-scoring opponents to a blank whilst adding two scores of their own (Eleftheriadou and Tricha). They couldn’t go into half-time level though, as Vasiliki Plevritou couldn’t convert her 5m penalty, and we won’t find out how crucial that could prove to be until the end of both legs.
But certainly in the context of this duel, the missed penalty gave Mataro a notable momentum boost, as they began to really put Olympiacos under pressure after the half-time break. Silvia Morell netted a quite brilliant shot from range, before Vivian Sevenich fired home an outstanding backshot to put Mataro ahead by three (7-4).
Tricha and Margarita Plevritou both grabbed goals for Olympiacos, but they couldn’t eat into Mataro’s lead, with Keszthelyi-Nagy and Van de Kraats finding further strikes (9-6).
Olympiacos pushed in the last eight minutes though, desperate to make up ground. Two scores from Vasiliki Plevritou gave her side impetus, while Eleftheria Plevritou brought her team within one score with four minutes to play.
Mataro, on the ropes a little, just wanted the full-time whistle to come, and when Olympiacos got a penalty opportunity, Mataro might have thought their chances of victory, at least in the first leg, were slim. Elena Sanchez, however, who had been outstanding all game, made a key save from Vasiliki Plevritou to keep her side in the game again. Silvia Morell of Mataro then found another amazing strike from distance to secure a huge away victory for the Spaniards.
CE Mediterrani 9 – 13 Dunaujvaros (1-4, 3-3, 1-4, 4-2)
Mediterrani: I. Costa, A. Munoz 1, A. Crevier, A. Marcos, V. Bakoc, P. Prats 3, C. Espar 1, D. Moreno 1, M. Viladot, H. Dalmases, P. Crespi 3, S. Lizotte, G. Palm
DFVE: L. Maczko, C. Jonkl 1, N. Sajben 2, L. Dorina Dobi 2, B. Horvath 1, G. Mahieu 2, N. Szabo, K. Garda 1, A. Mandula 2, D. Kardos, R. Pal 1, N. Sumegi 1, L. Aarts
Dunaujvaros has taken a giant leap towards securing a spot in the semifinals of the Champions League with a thrilling 13-9 victory over Mediterrani.
The Orange and Blues, led by Attila Mihok, demonstrated why they are one of the most fearless teams in Europe, delivering a dominant performance throughout the match. With nine players contributing to the score, including double strikes from Nikolett Sajben, Lili Dobi Dorina, Geraldine Mahieu, and Anna Mandula, it was truly a team effort.
Despite Mediterrani’s valiant effort in the final period, Dunaujvaros has the upper hand and looks poised to reach their first Champions League semi-final in three years.
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The away team came out of the gate blazing, taking a quick 2-0 lead with two early goals. Anna Mandula and Csenge Jonkl added to the lead with stunning strikes, setting the tone for the rest of the game.
Defender Paula Prats made her presence known with her first of three goals in the game, but it was the Orange and Blues who continued to thrive in the second quarter. Capitalising on power-play opportunities, Lili Dobi Dorina and Anna Mandula added to their tally, giving Dunaujvaros a comfortable 7-4 lead at halftime.
The third quarter saw Dunaujvaros continue their offensive barrage, with Geraldine Mahieu, Sajben, and Sumegi adding to the score. Heading into the final period, Dunaujvaros held a commanding 11-5 advantage.
Mediterrani made a late push with four goals, but it still looks like an impossible task to overturn the deficit they face. Dunaujvaros was simply the better team on the day and will be absolutely determined to make the semi-finals of this competition.
ANO Glyfada 13 – 14 Ekipe Orizzonte (3-5, 1-4, 5-2, 4-3)
Glyfada: E. Karytsa, P. Ninou, T. Moustakaria 1, I. Wolves 2, E. Grigoropoulou 1, E. Ninou 2, E. Antoniadi, I. Kanellopoulou, I. Koolhaas 3, E. Fountontou, L. Katsioni, S. Kontogianni 4, V. Tsiara
Ekipe: L. Celona, B. Halligan 2, T. Lombardo, G. Viacava 2, V. Gant, D. Bettini 1, V. Palmieri 3, C. Marletta 2, G. Gagliardi, A. Williams 3, A. Longo, M. Leone 1, A. Condorelli
Glyfada are still very much in with a shout of making the final four, after fighting back from six goals down to lose 14-13 to Ekipe Orizzonte.
Ekipe dominated early on, and perhaps took their foot off the gas too soon. In the end, they held out and won tonight, but they’ll need to show a lot more conviction if they wish to progress any further in this competition.
The reigning Italian champion’s top goal scorer, Alice Williams, netted three more goals tonight, alongside captain Valeria Palmieri. On the other bench, Glyfada’s skipper, Stamatina Kontogianni, led from the front, bagging a quad of scores in the game.
Ekipe led 2-0 inside the first two minutes, but were pegged back to 2-2. Two goals from Williams, and a score by Palmieri then guided the Italians to open up a little bit of a lead after eight minutes (5-3).
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Glyfada didn’t look comfortable, and Ekipe took full advantage; they bagged the next three goals in the game to pull out 8-3 ahead. Bronte Halligan’s goal with six seconds left in the half took Martina Miceli’s team up to nine.
Halligan’s compatriot, Williams, notched her third score, from a 5m penalty to put Ekipe at double-digits (10-4). But Theodoros Andreakos’s team didn’t stop trying, and in a quite remarkable shift of momentum, they found four consecutive scores in three minutes (Kontogianni 2, Koolhaas, Wolves) to bring themselves within only two scores (10-8).
Into the last, Ekipe restored a three-goal buffer with Giulia Viacava, Valeria Palmieri and Claudia Marletta hitting the target. But once more, Glyfada showed their character, and scored three goals inside the last two and half minutes. They will go to Catania a goal down, but in the circumstances, it could be a lot worse.
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