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Brave Birkirkara fall to Swiss champions FC Zurich


Chircop 90


Piubel 34; Bernaeur 54; Pinther 79


J. Xuereb; A. Said, C. Zammit, S. Farrugia, V. Rapa, C. Rodgers, G. Zahra (80 F. Chircop), A. Del Moral (80 M. Fenech), R. Giusti (34 M. Cardona) (60 V. Mifsud), M. Grosso, E. Garcia. 


N. Benz; M. Rey; D. Caldwell, O. Wos, N. Megroz, A. Schuster (46 V. Bernauer), S. Pluibel, L. Egli (83 C. Bucher), V. Pinther, (83 R. Baraniak), A. Pilgrim (83 M. Ibishaj), F. Humm. 

Referee Fabienne Michel (Germany FA). 

Yellow card Grosso. 

Birkirkara put on a brave display against Switzerland champions Zurich as they bowed out of the UEFA Women’s Champions League.

As expected, Zurich were the stronger side but the Maltese champions managed to stage a solid defensive display and at times tried to be a threat to their high-profile opponents. 

Jacqueline Dunker’s side will now advance to round two of the qualifications of this competition as they look to reach the group stages for the second consecutive season. 

Birkirkara coach Jose Borg made a couple of changes for this stern test with summer signings Arianna Del Moral and Edith Garcia – scorer in the previous qualifier against Breznica – given the nod ahead of Alishia Sultana and Veronique Mifsud. 

On the other hand, Zurich’s formation included former Manchester United and Reading defender Diana Caldwell and club legend Fabienne Humm, who has 299 goals for the club. 

Zurich made their intentions clear from the start with two efforts through Alayah Pilgrim and Leela Egli that forced goalkeeper Janice Xuereb into action. 

Pilgrim came close to put the Switzerland champions ahead with a brilliant long-range strike but once again could not find the net. 

Moments later, Viktoria Pinther was denied by Xuereb who produced a solid save from inside the small area as Zurich continued to pile the pressure on the hosts. 

Past the half-hour mark, a big chance dropped on the feet of Piubel but her close-range effort was blocked by defender Stephania Farrugia before rolling out of goal. 

Nonetheless, Xuereb could do nothing on Piubel’s follow-up effort when she converted a cut-back assist into a goal to make Zurich’s pressure count. 

Just before half-time, Fabienne Humm failed to double the score when she could not strike the ball well from point-blank range before Egli hit the crossbar as Birkirkara remained trailing by a goal at half-time. 

After the change of ends, Zurich doubled their lead through former Roma player Vanessa Bernaeur who beat Xuereb from close-range. 

Twenty minutes from time, Edith Garcia let fly a strike in an attempt to surprise the Zurich goalkeeper but could not find the target. 

Zurich scored a third through Pinther with a brilliant strike from outside the edge of the area. 

In the dying minutes, Birkirkara managed to breach Zurich’s goalkeeper and score a famous goal through forward Francesca Chircop following a corner-kick situation. 

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