UEFA Women's Cup: Umeå already ready for the final

Kolbotn IL - Umeå IK  1 - 5 (1-1)
Umeå: Sofia Lundgren - Anna Paulsson, Karolina Westberg, Sanna Valkonen, Maria Bergkvist - Lise Klaveness, Malin Moström, Anne Mäkinen, Anna Sjöström (78 Lisa Dahlqvist) - Hanna Ljungberg, Marta
Goals: 0-1 Hanna Ljungberg (2), 1-1 Trine Rönning (35), 1-2 Lise Klaveness (54), 1-3 Marta (67), 1-4 Hanna Ljungberg (77), 1-5 Marta (89)
Attendance: 762
Kolbotn suffered a crushing defeat and the TV interviewers couldn't even get the Umeå players (trained to never take anything for granted and never focus on anything than the next match) to question their spot in the finals, that will be played in April next year.
The small Sofiemyr stadium, just south of Oslo, offered a hard and spotwise icy pitch on the cold but sunny Saturday afternoon. Initially players of both teams had problems with the surface and there were some "Bambi on ice" moments before they adapted the play to the surface. But already before that Umeå had taken the lead. Lise Klaveness suddenly was completely free with Kolbotn's keeper and tried to chip her, but hit the goalbar. Hanna Ljungberg was speedy on the rebound and could score after less than two minutes of play. Umeå continued to play good and had a couple more close shots, including a Hanna Ljungberg header, that was saved on or maybe even a bit behind the goalline by a defender. But around 30 minutes into the first half, Kolbotn began to get their play working and Trine Rønning's equaliser was followed by a very good Norwegian period and 1-1 seemed a fair half-time result.
Hanna Ljungberg, interviewed in half-time, thought 1-1 was a good result and wouldn't mind bringing that home to Umeå for the return match.
Umeå had started with a 4-4-2, trying to match Kolbotn's strong 3 player midfield and getting through on the wings. But the more they played on in the second half, the more players they pushed up in their attacks and they often looked more like 4-3-3 and even 4-2-4 when in possession. After 10 minutes of the second half Hanna Ljungberg found Lise Klaveness, who again managed to get free behind the Kolbotn defense line, with a perfect pass to score and give Umeå the lead. After that it was almost play against one goal. Marta out-ran the Kolbotn's defense from what seemed an impossible position. She was at least 5 after two Norwegian defenders, trying to catch a long pass from Anna Sjöström, but beat them to the ball and scored a beautifull goal, shot from the edge of the area.
Ten minutes later Kolbotn's defense again failed to get Umeå's fast attackers off-side and Hanna Ljungberg could get around the keeper and shoot into the open goal. Kolbotn's defensive tactics, with the defense-line high up in the field trying to pressure already in midfield and setting up offside-traps for the forwards, failed completely. "Gutsy, but stupid tactics" as the TV commented, pointing out that Umeå's pacy attack took all the advantage they could from the setup.
Another Kolbotn weakness was their somewhat unreliable goalkeeping. Just before time, Kolbotn keeper Lise Beate Bye got in her head that she, instead of just kicking the ball to the nearest player, should challenge Marta in the penalty area. Marta of course won the ball and could score the fifth and final goal for Umeå.
Dagens Nyheter:
Marta sköt Umeå mot final
SVT: Umeå nära final i Womens Cup, match clip, pre-match clip (training, Jeglertz mulling over tactics)
NRK: Kolbotn overkjørt av Umeå 

In Copenhagen, Brøndby and Arsenal reached a 2-2 draw in the other semifinal, giving Arsenal the upper hand in their home leg, that will be played next weekend.


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