In a related article last week, this author had opined that Tyreso and Wolgburg looked like the most likely contenders for the final spots of the Women’s Champions League to be played on May 22, 2014 at the Portuguese capital Lisbon. On Sunday, playing on their home grounds, the two teams scored over their opponents in the second-leg semifinal matches in contrasting styles. The second leg matches held the key after the first leg games had ended in goalless draws.
In Stockholm, Tyreso were emphatic in their 3-0 victory against Birmingham City LFC. Tyreso’s mercurial Brazilian forward Marta was in tears after missing a penalty, when the score was 0-0 but she regained her composure and combined well with her colleagues in mounting an attack on the Blue Ladies’ goal area. The psychological pressure of playing a side that had not conceded a match in six of their seven previous outings weighed on Tyreso. In addition, there was nothing to be gained from the first-leg game. No goals could be scored in the first half, though the hosts invaded the Birmingham territory several times. Despite the charged-up tempo, Tyreso forwards, Lisa Dahlkvist and Marta could not find the target. Almost immediately after the half-time, Birmingham’s Chelsea Weston handled the ball in the box and the referee promptly pointed to the penalty spot. In one of her rare misses, Tyreso forward Marta shot wide off the goal to the squealing delight of the Blue Ladies.
Fifteen minutes into second half, when the score was still 0-0, Tyreso’s prolific scorer, Christen Press managed to put her side ahead, after Verónica Boquete’s shot got deflected from the bar. In a nice combination with Malin Diaz, Press recorded her 8th goal this term in the 61st minute. The rejuvenated Tyreso forwards raised their games and Press found another chance in the 72nd minute, after Diaz’s shot was deflected. Press made no mistakes as Tyreso went 2-0 up. But Christen Press was not finished yet. Three minutes into the injury time, the American created an opening, from where Marta finished the task, making it 3-0 at full time. Coach Tony Gustavsson was a happy man, when he said that the Tyreso women reached their goals and realized their dreams. He added that against the defending champions, Wolfburg, the girls will play with smiles on their faces without bothering about the outcome.
The second crunch game between VfL Wolfsburg and FFC Postdam was a thriller. Played at the hosts’ stadium at the Wolfburg arena, the match began with Postdam going into an early lead by a 7th minute goal from Julia Simic. Postdam goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger blocked a shot from Wolfburg defender Verena Faisst and somehow the ball came near Simic. In a controlled exhibition of cool-headedness, Simic created a curling shot and found the top corner of the goal to put Postdam ahead. Wolfburg captain Nadine Kessler, however, equalized in the 17th minute. Postdam assumed the lead once again, when Genoveva Anonma took full advantage of a mistake by Almuth Schult and made it 2-1 for Postdam in the 35th minute. The lead, however, was short-lived as Alexandra Popp scored one minute later by smartly heading a perfect cross from Nadine Kessler. Popp scored yet again in the 41st minute and for the first time in the match, Wolfburg took a 3-2 lead. The entire first half was spent by breathlessness as women from both sides ran constantly and played a fast game. In 80th minute, Wolgburg’s Lena Goessling sent a corner shot to Martina Muller, who latched on to the ball and fired in with the Postdam goalkeeper watching in helplessness.
With a deserved victory despite the stiff challenge posed by Postdam, Vfl Wolfburg have come within one step to winning their second successive Womens Champion League final. It would be interesting to watch the defending champions fight it out with the Swedish club Tyreso, who won their match with some credit to reach the final. The last show will be held in Lisbon two nights prior to the Men’s final. The venue for women’s final will be Estadio do Restelo, which can accommodate 19,300 spectators.