Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Everton women earn win in Europe

By Tony Leighton

Fara Williams
Williams helped Everton win last season's FA Cup

Everton came from behind to score a stunning 4-1 away victory in the first leg of their Women's Champions League tie against Danish team Brondby IF.

The Toffees put themselves within 90 minutes of a first European quarter-final appearance despite gifting the home side a third-minute lead.

Fara Williams equalised from a 56th-minute penalty and late goals by Toni Duggan and two from Brooke Chaplen sealed a famous victory over opponents who have twice featured in European semi-finals.

Everton manager Mo Marley said: "We gave a sloppy early goal away, but the girls responded really well and we had the majority of possession throughout the match.

"We didn't capitalise in the first half and to be fair when Fara scored the penalty it was a little bit against the run of play.

"But that boosted confidence and then we had a superb 10-minute spell that won us the game - and deservedly so."

A 4-1 scoreline had looked highly unlikely when dreadful defending allowed Kur Larsen to shoot Brondby ahead from six yards.

We've got a good European pedigree and with a stronger side than we had last year, we've got to be confident

Arsenal captain Faye White

But Everton clawed their way back into the game and were rewarded when midfielder Williams slotted home from the spot following a handling offence.

The visitors were on top from that point but it took them until the 79th minute to take the lead with great play by striker Natasha Dowie setting up winger Duggan to score.

Two minutes later Chaplen jinked her way past three defenders to slide in a goal that broke the resolve of the home team.

And four minutes from time the England under-23 striker, a hat-trick scorer against MTK Hungaria in the last round, got her second with a low shot into the far corner.

Marley stated: "I was surprised at the scoreline, but we'll take it. Now we have to stay focused and hold our nerve to reach the quarter-finals.

"The second leg will be a big test for us because Brondby will have nothing to lose - but if we show the discipline we did after their first goal tonight, we can do it."

Arsenal are away to Spanish champions Rayo Vallecano in Madrid on Thursday in the opening leg of their quarter-final tie as they hope to reach the last eight in European competition once again.

The Spanish side will have some familiar faces to Gunners captain Faye White.

The central defender twice came up against Spain's top striker Adriana in England's successful 2011 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Arsenal captain Faye White
White hopes to lead Arsenal into the Champions League quarters

En route to clinching a place in the finals England beat Spain at home and drew away, but they both were hard-fought results - and White is expecting more of the same.

"Adriana is a real handful and she should be the main danger to us," said White. "But they've got other players from the national team as well and they'll be strong.

"They're a team of technically gifted players who pass the ball through midfield to set up attacks, so this first leg is going to be tough.

"But we've got a good European pedigree and with a stronger side than we had last year, we've got to be confident going over there.

"I'm expecting a close game, but we'll be looking for an away goal or two to set ourselves up for the home leg next week."

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