Umeå ahead despite reverses

With the 2007/08 UEFA Women's Cup having been launched by last week's draw looks how leading contenders in the summer domestic leagues are faring.

The 2007/08 UEFA Women's Cup season was launched by the competition draw last week with April's beaten finalists Umeå IK hoping to go one better despite two rare defeats in the Swedish league while Kolbotn IL are coming under serious pressure in Norway.

Rare defeats
Umeå began the Damallsvenskan season at a rate of knots with ten consecutive wins, barely pausing for breath despite losing the European final to Arsenal LFC, but on 10 June suffered their first league defeat since October 2004 - 56 games ago - when Djurgårdens IF came away with a 2-1 victory. A fortnight later Umeå went down 3-2 at Sunnanå SK but the two-time UEFA Women's Cup winners were back on form on Sunday as goals in the last 20 minutes from Madeleine Edlund, June Pedersen, Anna Paulson and Emelie Konradsson secured a 4-0 victory against ambitious Linköpings FC despite the absence of Hanna Ljungberg with a calf injury. That win moved Umeå three points ahead of Djurgården with eight fixtures remaining, including a potential decider between the two on 3 November.

Kolbotn challenge
Like Umeå, 2005/06 semi-finalists Kolbotn enter the UEFA Women's Cup in the second qualifying round in October but in Norway's Toppserien are being given a real run for their money by 2004 champions RØA IL. Kolbotn began the season with a 1-1 draw at Asker FK but by the time of their trip to Røa on 24 June had won eight games in a row and were still unbeaten after eleven fixtures. That run ended when Røa triumphed 2-1 with a late Siri Nordby goal after Kolbotn had Rebecca Angus sent off to leave these teams level on points. Then, having beaten Asker 2-0, on 3 July Kolbotn lost 3-2 at Arna-Bjørnar Fotball and although they beat Amazon Grimstad FK 7-1 on Saturday to remain top on goal difference, Røa - who won 9-0 at IL Sandviken - have a game in hand, which they will play at third-placed Asker when the league resumes on 1 August.

Valur ahead
In the other leading leagues with summer seasons, Icelandic champions Valur Reykjavík lead KR Reykjavík on goal difference following their 1-1 draw on Friday, the first points either team have dropped after seven fixtures. Among Valur's first qualifying round opponents are Finland's FC Honka, and 12 games into the 18-match 2007 season they are four points ahead of HJK Helsinki, where they won 4-1 on 28 June. Zvezda-2005 Perm lead Russia's UEFA Women's Cup entrants WFC Rossiyanka by three points thanks to their perfect record from seven games, beginning with a 4-3 triumph away against the champions. Valur, Honka and Rossiyanka start their UEFA Women's Cup campaigns on 9 August.