ZURICH – The Espoo Blues and SKIF Nizhny Novgorod were the winners of last weekend’s second-round tournaments of the European Women’s Champions Cup. Aisulu Almaty and Segeltorps IK also qualified for the final tournament.
Finnish champion Espoo Blues were perfect in Group E
in Kralupy nad Vltavou, Czech Republic. The Blues beat host Slavia Prague, 2-1. Minnamari Tuominen opened the scoring at 5:51 and Elisa Rytkönen scored the game-winner at 49:32, eight minutes after Slavia’s equalizer from Eva Holesova. The Blues followed up with two shutouts against Denmark’s Herlev Hornets, 14-0, and Aisulu Almaty, 4-0.
Kazakh champion, Aisulu Almaty, finished in second place and is also qualified for the finals after a 4-2 win over Slavia. Goalkeeper Darya Obydennova was Aisulu’s hero with 51 saves.
Russian champion SKIF Nizhny Novgorod will have played in all three stages of the European Women’s Champions Cup. After marching through the first-round tournament, the Russians also won the second-round Group F
in the Stockholm suburb of Segeltorp.
SKIF and host Segeltorps IF were both undefeated after they each beat Switzerland’s DHC Langenthal and Germany’s ESC Planegg-Würmtal and thus earned the qualification to the final tournament after only two games. The clash between the two teams ended with a 5-1 victory for SKIF. Finnish forward Karolina Rantamäki scored two of her five goals in the tournament against the Swedes.
It’s the second time in 19 games that a Swedish team lost a game in the European Women’s Champions Cup, which has been won by AIK Solna all four previous seasons. The other Swedish defeat also came in a Segeltorp game when they lost 2-0 to Torpedo Moscow Region, in 2006-2007.
The final tournament with the Espoo Blues (FIN), SKIF Nizhny Novgorod (RUS), Aisulu Almaty (KAZ) and Segeltorps IF (SWE) will take place from January 30 to February 1, 2009. The host is yet to be determined.