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This Week In Football: UWCL kicks off, CAF Women’s Champions League final replay & more

Another busy midweek of action featured some top-class action in women’s continental club competitions as well as men’s major tournament qualifiers.

Here are some of the best results:

πŸ† UEFA Women’s Champions League: Real Madrid 2-2 Chelsea

The 2023/24 UEFA Women’s Champions League proper kicked off with some huge clashes, such as Real Madrid versus Chelsea.

In the first match after Emma Hayes’ upcoming move to the United States Women’s National Team was announced, Chelsea hoped to get their UWCL campaign off to the right start with the ultimate ambition of finally lifting the trophy at the end of the season to give her the perfect send-off.

However, they conceded first after 10 minutes and only just managed to equalise before half-time. Their second-half performance was better and they eventually took the lead through Sam Kerr, but they could only come away with a point at the end of the day.

In the VAR-less group stage, two incorrect refereeing calls went against them as Madrid were able to equalise from a penalty awarded for a foul outside the box, and a last-minute winner was ruled out by the assistant for a false offside.

That was not the ideal start to Chelsea’s UWCL campaign, but they still have time to set things right.

πŸ† CAF Women’s Champions League: Mamelodi Sundowns 1-0 AS FAR

Over in Africa, the Women’s Champions League is drawing to a close as the semi-finals were held this week.

The headline clash was between the two previous winners of the competition, who also happened to be the two finalists in 2022.

Defending champions AS FAR were not the favourites against Mamelodi Sundowns, as they had faltered in the group stage to only finish second, while the South Africans ended up with a perfect record of three wins from three and no goals conceded.

As expected, Sundowns dominated proceedings and suffocated their opponents for long periods of the match. Scoring a crucial opener proved difficult, though, as AS FAR defended resolutely with strong numbers at the back.

Eventually, Bouitomelo Rabale delivered the decisive blow in the 78th minute to send Sundowns through to a third consecutive final.

After the men’s side won the inaugural African Football League last weekend, Sundowns will aim to win two continental competitions in the space of about seven days in the CAF Women’s Champions League final.

🌍 UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifiers: Israel 1-1 Switzerland

Israel were on the back foot going into the final round of the 2024 European Championships qualifiers, as they had four matches to play in nine days due to the war in Gaza.

They lost against Kosovo on the weekend, making their next clash against Switzerland a must-win.

The visitors knew that a victory would secure their spot in the tournament, so they were pretty motivated to get all three points.

Murat Yakin’s side looked better on the night as they created plenty of chances, but they would rue their failure to take many of them.

Ruben Vargas gave the Swiss the lead in the 34th minute, but that was not enough. Israel struggled to establish control, but an 88th-minute equaliser from substitute Shon Weissman kept their campaign alive, although their fate is no longer in their own hands.

🌍 CONMEBOL 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers: Chile 0-0 Paraguay

We had a couple of big upsets in South America this week as Colombia beat Brazil and Uruguay won in Argentina, but we feel it is worth highlighting another result.

Chile should be among the stronger nations in South America, but they have missed the last two World Cups and are on course for an unwanted hat-trick even as the tournament expands to 48 teams.

They have won just one of their five qualifying matches, which leaves them outside what has become the all-important top seven now.

Their goalless draw against Paraguay – of which they spent more than a half playing against ten men – highlights some of their struggles, as they have scored just three goals in their qualification campaign.

Head coach Eduardo Berizzo reportedly just resigned after this result with their next match coming in just four days, so it is safe to say that Chile’s campaign has been a bit of a mess so far.

🌍 AFC 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers: Saudi Arabia 4-0 Pakistan

Over in Asia, Round 2 of the long-winding AFC World Cup qualifiers began this week.

Roberto Mancini took charge of his first competitive match for Saudi Arabia against Pakistan, who had never gotten this far in the World Cup qualifiers previously.

The scoreline might suggest a comfortable win for the hosts, but the performance was not quite so dominant.

They took the lead after six minutes but failed to break down Pakistan’s resolute block again until half-time. Even in the second half, they only scored from a penalty early on before doubling the margin of their win in stoppage time.

Stephen Constantine’s side can take a lot of heart from this performance, while Mancini and company will be glad with the result but should also know that there is work to be done before the upcoming Asian Cup.

Stats courtesy FotMob.

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