Tuesday 18 October 2016, 07:24

Fast starts and furious finishes

FIFA.com visits three continents in wrapping up another busy week for women’s club football. There was an end to a title-drought in Sweden, perfection in Germany and France, plus news from either end of the respective seasons in Japan and New Zealand.

Sweden: Linkopings end long wait It has taken seven years and significant forward planning but Linkopings are finally champions of Sweden once again. The second crown for the club arrived in style with a 2-0 win at Vittsjo creating an eight-point gap with two rounds remaining. Prolific young goalscorer Stina Blackstenius netted the clinching goal to join team-mate Pernille Harder at the top of the league’s scoring charts with 18 apiece. Rosengard slipped to a 2-1 home defeat against last season’s fairytale club Eskilstuna United. Rosengard - formerly known as Malmo - had won five of the past six titles. Top three: Rosengard (56 points), Rosengard (48), Pitea (36)

Japan: Sweet and sour for Beleza NTV Beleza’s title celebrations were dampened as the Tokyo side slipped to a 2-0 home defeat against newcomers AC Nagano Parceiro, a week after securing their 14th crown. 2014 champions INAC Kobe Leonessa hold down second on goal difference thanks to a 2-0 victory over Okayama Yunogo Belle. With the title race over, attention now turns to the prestigious Empress Cup in a fortnight. Meanwhile, Nojima Stella Kanagawa Sagamihara earned promotion as Division 2 winners, while runners-up AS Elfen Saitama will feature in a promotion play-off. Top three: NTV Beleza (41), INAC Kobe Leonessa, AC Nagano Parceiro (both 34)

Germany: Turbine keep propelling forward Turbine Potsdam’s early season momentum shows little sign of abating as a fifth win on the trot maintained their two-point advantage at the top. A sumptuous curling free-kick from Elise Kellond-Knight and a second-half effort from Svenja Huth ensured a 2-0 victory over Essen, with last season’s disastrous campaign fast becoming a distant memory. Second-placed Wolfsburg needed a last-minute winner from Alexandra Popp for a 2-1 comeback win at Hoffenheim, while Freiburg leapt into third with a 4-0 win at Borussia Monchengladbach. Champions Bayern Munich’s relatively muted start to the season continued with a 1-0 win at mid-table SC Sand. Top three: Turbine Potsdam (15), Wolfsburg (13), Freiburg (11)

France: Three-way charge off the starting blocks It's still early days in France but while champions Lyon are leaders on goal difference, they currently find themselves sharing their hold on top spot along with Montpellier and Paris Saint-Germain, all of whom have five wins from as many starts. Eugenie Le Sommer joined team-mate Ada Hegerberg at the top of the league’s goalscoring list with a double as Lyon collected a 6-1 win at Marseille. Montpellier are second after their 2-1 win at Juvisy, while PSG put four unanswered goals past the visiting Rodez.

New Zealand: New campaign, fresh ambitions The new national league season got underway in New Zealand on the weekend without its U-20 national team squad members, who are preparing for the fast-looming FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea. Defending champions Northern Football - whose squad boasts several members of the U-17 side which competed at Jordan 2016 this month - eased to a 3-0 win at Central. However, it is Canterbury United Pride who have a narrow lead at the summit after a 4-1 win over Auckland Football, which was built around a treble from Lily Bray.