Weekend Review: Asllani hat trick highlights busy weekend in Europe
It was a busy weekend across Europe’s top leagues as some special individual displays Saturday were a bit overshadowed by a chaotic Sunday in England. Let’s dive into some of the biggest highlights starting with a record-breaking performance in Spain.
Top Performance: Real Madrid’s Kosovare Asllani
The title may already be done and dusted in the Primera Division but the race for the Golden Boot heated up a bit over the weekend as Asllani put herself back into the league’s top three goalscorers with her first goals in nearly two months. Asllani opened the scoring in the 67th minute and added two more in just 154 seconds, to score what many believe is the fastest hat trick in the history of women’s football.
Asllani put the pressure on when she swung in a free kick to the near post from a narrow angle that Valencia’s defense couldn’t handle. Her hat trick could have been completed more quickly but she added a little bit of flare to the second goal, chipping the ball well over the keeper’s head to double the lead.
In the 70th minute, Asllani was the beneficiary of a great run and assist from Marta Cardona who set up an easy finish into an open net for Asllani to cap off the historic day. You can see all of Asllani’s goals and the full match highlights here.
Best Goal: Aston Villa’s Mana Iwabuchi
While Asllani’s chip has a good shout to double up on awards this week, Iwabuchi created a piece of magic out of nothing to help Aston Villa get a massive result against Tottenham on Saturday to move four points from safety in the table.
Iwabuchi was the first to react to a loose ball on the edge of the final third. She needed just two touches to line up a shot from 25 yards. There’s not much more to say about it. You have to watch it.
Best Match: Wolfsburg 3, Turbine Potsdam 2
There was about as much action as one could handle during Wolfsburg’s clash with Turbine Potsdam on Saturday. Of course, all one had to do was look at the weather forecast to know the two teams would be in for a frenzied night of football.
While the debate will still be if the match should have even been played due to heavy snowfall, the first whistle was on schedule and the madness quickly got underway. It was a sloshy mess with plenty of weird bounces and nothing normal about how to get the ball from point A to point B but somehow there were still plenty of goals.
Wolfsburg’s Rebecka Blomqvist saw her opener canceled out by Selina Cerci in the 30th minute, but less than a minute later the hosts were back in front through Kathrin-Julia Hendrich’s first goal for the club. Before the two teams could get to the break, Potsdam’s Lea Bahnemann was shown a second yellow card to make matters worse for the visitors. *NOTE -- what happened with Lea Bahnemann? This is an interesting tidbit but needs to be tied into the rest of the paragraph *END NOTE*
That was not the end of things, however, as an equalizer from Nina Ehegotz in the 51st minute put the pressure back on Wolfsburg. Unfortunately for Potsdam, the score wouldn’t stay level for very long as Wolfsburg top scorer Zsanett Jakabfi came off the bench to score the winner in the 57th minute, capping the back-and-forth affair and keeping the hosts within striking distance of league leader Bayern Munich.
Title Race Update
Lyon keeps pace with PSG
If you’re like me, the only important thing from Division 1 over the weekend was Catarina Macario’s debut for Lyon. She came on as a first half substitute and immediately made an impact as her shot was blocked before bouncing out to Sakina Karchaoui who slotted it home for the go-ahead goal in a 2-1 win. The three points from Lyon moved the club back to within one point of PSG at the top of the table.
Three league leaders stay perfect
The top flight leagues in Germany, Italy and Spain could already crown a champion at this point - as each has been dominated by a single team so far this season and that continued over the weekend.
Barcelona is at the top of that list as it continues to play three levels higher than anyone else in Spain. Its 2-0 victory at Logrono pushed Blaugranes to a perfect 15-0-0 on the season with a plus-75 goal (!!!) difference.
Juventus kept its 3-point lead in Italy with a 3-0 win over Empoli, thanks to a brace from Cristiana Girelli. AC Milan stayed within one game of the leaders as the two clubs are on a collision course to decide the title in Turin on March 7th.
Bayern Munich allowed just its second goal of the season but it still kept its distance from Wolfsburg with a 7-1 victory against Meppen on Sunday. It is now 13-0-0 and holds a 5-point lead as the team searches for its first league title since 2016.
Man City benefits from string of upsets
Chloe Kelly delivered a perfect cross to Lauren Hemp for the winning goal in Manchester City’s 2-1 victory at Arsenal on Sunday. The 3 points put the Citizens in great position to secure a Champions League spot, but thanks to some shocking results elsewhere they now have their sights set a bit higher.
Despite 29 shot attempts, Chelsea was somehow held in check by Brighton & Hove Albion as the visitors grabbed a 2-1 win over the leaders, ending Chelsea’s long home unbeaten streak.
Manchester United had a chance to move to the top of the table but couldn’t find any space at home against Reading. It was again the visitors who found the back of the net against the run of play, scoring twice in three minutes to take a 2-0 win.
City is now within two points of both clubs and has a game in hand on United with a massive week of derbies coming up for the top four. Chelsea hosts Arsenal on Wednesday while the Manchester Derby will be played Friday and broadcasted by NBCSN.