From the Primera División to the NWSL, Martin Whiteley gives us the low-down on news from women’s football leagues across Europe and the United States.
Wolfsburg back from international break with bang as Hoffenheim pull clear in second
A brace from Sara Gunnarsdóttir helped Frauen-Bundesliga leaders Wolfsburg to their sixth straight win after a 5-0 victory against Cologne.
The game of the round saw second-place Hoffenheim at home to the side just below them in the table, Bayern Munich. Both sides had 12 points coming into the contest with Hoffenheim just ahead on goal difference. At the end it was Hoffenheim who took the spoils after a 1-0 win.
Two other sides are now level with Bayern Munich on 12 points. SGS Essen defeated bottom side USV Jena 7-1 to move up to fourth-place — Lea Schüller with a hat-trick. FFC Frankfurt drop below Essen on goal difference, on the back of losing 3-0 to SC Sand.
Féminine Division 1 top two continue winning start
Lyon and PSG both achieved their fifth straight league wins to stay ahead of the pack.
Champions Lyon, who started with Lionesses Alex Greenwood and Lucy Bronze, defeated Paris FC at home 4-0. Ada Hegerberg scored a brace to take her into third place above Camille Abily on the all-time leading goal-scorers list for Lyon, with 210 goals. Nikita Parris and Izzy Christiansen made appearances as second-half substitutes.
On their travels, PSG got the better of Fleury 91 thanks to two first-half goals. PSG will be hoping to follow the success Lyon gained against Paris FC when they host them next week, as Lyon play bottom side Dijon.
There is now a five-point gap between the top two and third-place Montpellier who were held to a 1-1 draw at Soyaux.
Top three in Spain all gain wins, but it was not straightforward
Barcelona, Deportivo de La Coruña, and Atletico Madrid all kept pace with one another. For two of the sides, wins came with the narrowest of margins, while the other only guaranteed victory late on.
Leaders Barcelona gained their third straight win to move to 13 points after a 1-0 victory away to Sporting de Huelva. Asisat Oshoala scored the only goal just short of the half-hour mark.
The most comfortable victory score-wise was attained by second in the table Deportivo de La Coruña against Rayo Vallecano on home soil. But that does not tell the whole story. Scoreless until the 50th minute, it took two goals after the 84th minute to make sure Deportivo de La Coruña were able to breath more easily as they advanced onto 13 points.
Atletico Madrid, who travelled to Levante with Toni Duggan in their starting line-up, also only managed to score one goal. The third-place team broke the deadlock against Levante just after half-time thanks to Ludmila, as they stayed just one point behind the top two sides.
NWSL playoff matchups set
With the four play-off teams already in place, there was only question going into the final round of regular-season games: who would claim third-spot in the standings?
Shield-winners North Carolina Courage and second-place Chicago Red Stars were assured of their positions and would each host a semi-final game next Sunday. Portland Thorns were sitting third on 39 points and their last game saw them welcome Washington Spirit. Reign FC, a spot below them, with 37 points, faced a trip to Orlando Pride in their final contest.
When Jodie Taylor netted for the third game in a row for Reign FC to give them a 2-1 lead just before the interval, it looked like they might get the win they needed to put pressure on Portland to match their result.
Head-to-head meetings is the first tie-breaker if two teams are level on points. Reign FC had defeated Portland in all three of their games this season, so they would have been in pole position if both sides had ended on 40 points.
That scenario for Reign FC was still in play late into their match, before disaster struck. Marta scored for Orlando in the 86th minute to level the contest up at 2-2, ending Reign FC’s hopes of moving up in the standings.
Portland now knew third-place was secured and they would travel to Chicago to start post-season play. Incidentally, their game at home to Washington Spirit finished goalless.
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