Women's Soccer Weekend Rewind: Thorns win NWSL Challenge Cup, Chelsea clinches WSL title, and more
Jenny Hojnacki
1 Yr Ago
Four women’s teams around the world sealed silverware over the weekend.
The Portland Thorns won the NWSL Challenge Cup in a penalty shootout after a gritty 1-1 draw against NJ/NY Gotham FC. Chelsea took care of business in a 5-0 win over Reading to claim the WSL crown for the second year in a row. Barcelona only won by a 1-0 score over Granadilla, but it was enough to clinch their second straight Spanish title. Juventus also won Serie A for the fourth year running after a 2-0 win against Napoli.
Champions League races are still alive as well after this week. Spain’s race is seeing some separation while Italy’s is suddenly open again after AC Milan continues a downward spiral as the end of the season approaches.
Here’s a look back at those four trophy winning performances and more in the world of women’s soccer:
NWSL Challenge Cup
The Portland Thorns won their second consecutive NWSL trophy by claiming the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup in a penalty shootout win over NJ/NY Gotham FC. Adrianna Franch stopped Nahomi Kawasumi in the seventh round of the shootout and Morgan Weaver buried the ensuing Thorns attempt to claim the Challenge Cup title.
Christine Sinclair opened the scoring after just eight minutes of action, but her early goal was cancelled out by a well executed crossing move that ended in a Carli Lloyd header in the 61st minute. 
The Thorns were certainly the more dangerous of the two teams. They launched 26 shots at the GOtham goal with eight of them landing on target. All but one was stopped, but why will certainly feel like they should have scored another goal or two and avoided the penalty shootout altogether.
On the contrary for Gotham, they attempted eight shots, but the only one on the mark was the Lloyd goal.
The NWSL will now move on to its 24 game regular season starting next Saturday.
England FA Women’s Super League
Chelsea left little doubt as to whether or not they would win the WSL at the end of Sunday’s action. They claimed their second championship in a row after hammering Reading by a 5-0 score. Fran Kirby scored twice after Melanie Leupolz opened the scoring in just the second minute of play. Sam KErr and Erin Cuthbert rounded out the five goals in the second half.
Chelsea did need their win despite a frustrating day for Manchester City. City ended up with a 1-0 victory over West Ham, but they certainly did not play like their vintage selves. Ellen White scored their goal in the 75th minute, but both Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle failed to convert from the spot as City aimed to provide some insurance for their win.
In the race for third, Manchester United got goals from Ella Toone and Kirsty Hansen in a 2-0 win over Everton, but it was all for naught as Arsenal picked up a point in a scoreless draw against Aston Villa to claim third place and a spot in next season’s Champions League.
The point for Villa helped them stay up, but Bristol City never really challenged them for safety on Sunday. Brighton took the lead seven minutes in and never looked back to defeat the last place Bristol by a 3-1 score, condemning them to relegation into the Championship for next season. They will be replaced by Leicester City, who have claimed the title in the second tier.
France Feminine Division 1
U.S. Women’s National Team prospect Catarina Macario continues to enjoy herself with Olympique Lyonnais. She scored the middle two of their 4-0 win over Issy, keeping pace with Paris Saint-Germain at the top of the French table.
Amel Majri scored from the penalty spot in the tenth minute to open Lyon’s scoring and Macario bagged her two within ten minutes of each other later in the half. The first came in the 32nd and the second in the 42nd. Macario is in fine form despite her inexperience in Europe. She has six goals in her last five appearances for Lyon.
As for the leaders in the table, PSG got an early goal from Nadia Nadim and a late goal from Marie-Antoinette Katoto to take care of Le Havre 2-0. The win maintains their one point lead over Lyon with only one game left before they play each other on May 30. The loss for Le Havre seals their fate as relegated to the second tier after Soyaux’s 1-0 win over Fleury 91.
Germany Frauen Bundesliga
Bayern Munich and VfL Wolfsburg could not settle their differences in Wolfsburg on Sunday. Ewa Pajor rescued a point for Wolfsburg with an 81st minute goal to wipe out Sydney Lohmann’s 34th minute finish. The result is a good one for Bayern, who now have a two point lead in the table with two games left to play. Wolfsburg needed a win and nothing else here in order to have full control of their destiny. Bayern will now win the Frauen Bundesliga crown as long as they win their remaining games against Bayer Leverkusen and Eintracht Frankfurt.
Elsewhere, TSG Hoffenheim will need one more point to claim their spot in Europe next season after a scoreless draw against SC Sand and Bayern Leverkusen’s 2-2 draw against SV Meppen
Spain Primera División Femenina
Barcelona clinched the Spanish title with their 1-0 win over Granadilla combined with Levante’s 1-1 draw against Espanyol. Bruna Vilamala scored the lone goal of the game in the 38th minute. This is Barcelona’s second straight title and sixth overall since winning their first in 2012.
Levante is still in second place despite dropping points this week and Real Madrid comfortably defeating Rayo Vallecano 3-0. Aurelle Kaci, Jessica Martinez, and Marta Corredera all scored in the win. Real Madrid now holds a ten point advantage for third place and a spot in the Champions League. Real Sociedad failed to keep pace in fourth position when they conceded twice after the 89th minute to fall to Athletic Bilbao on the road. Madrid CF also fell 1-0 to Atlético Madrid on an 82nd minute goal by Ludmila.
Italy Serie A Women
Juventus has won the Scudetto for the fourth straight season, clinching the title with a 2-0 win over Napoli on Sunday. Christiana Girelli broke her league scoring drought by scoring the first goal of the game in the 19th minute and Juve sealed the win in the 29th with a finish from Barbara Bonanessa. Juve made their Serie A debut in the 2017-18 season and has won the title in all four of their top flight campaigns.
Juventus would have won the title even if they did slip up and lose to Napoli because second place AC Milan shockingly lost to Fiorentina, putting them in real danger of missing out on the Champions League next season. A 14th minute red card to goalkeeper Maria Kornciova when they were already down 1-0 sunk them throughout the rest of the game. Valentina Giacinti scored their lone goal from the penalty spot in the 62nd, but Daniela Sabatino and Sara Baldi had already scored for Fiorentina and Valery Vigliucci would add a third shortly before the final whistle.
Sassuolo’s 1-0 win over Pink Sport has them within three points of Milan for second place with two matches left to play.
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