One more step: AS Roma and Juventus a game away from Women’s Champions League group stage

With AS Roma winning and Juventus earning an away draw this week, both Serie A sides are in with a real chance of qualifying for the group stages of the Women's Champions League.

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Both AS Roma and Juventus remain in with a better-than-good chance of finding themselves in this season’s Women’s Champions League group stages after each played the first legs of their respective final-round qualifiers this midweek. Roma, in particular, impressed as they came from behind to beat Sparta Praha

In the second round of qualification – after the first round was played out in August – both the Giallorosse and the Bianconere were made to suffer perhaps more than they would have liked to, but with Juventus drawing in Denmark and Roma winning in the Czech Republic, each side return to Italy with everything on the line.

Juventus’ second leg against HB Koge will be played on Wednesday, September 28 at 20:30 CEST – local time in Italy – before Roma host Sparta Praha in the Eternal City at 14:30 CEST on Thursday, September 29.

Juventus made to sweat in Denmark

Juventus’ two-legged tie was thought to be the easier of the two, but HB Koge proved to be trickier opponents than the Italian champions might have anticipated. 

Joe Montemurro made a number of changes to his XI – having played Roma in Serie A Femminile last time out and with a trip to Sassuolo to come this weekend in Matchday 4 – and Sofia Cantore was chosen to lead the line.

But the Bianconere found themselves behind after just eight minutes through Maddie Ann Pokorny, but Amanda Nilden headed in an Annahita Zamanian cross to equalise midway through the half.

Amanda Nilden celebrates scoring for Juventus Women. (@JuventusFCWomen)

While Juventus were the better side from there, they were unable to find a winner despite turning to Lineth Beerensteyn and Cristiano Girelli, among others, from the bench. 

AS Roma suffered, but came from behind to win

Roma had problems of their own away in Prague, but they were unlucky to fall behind to Sparta. The Serie A side were the better of the two for much of the night and should have gone in ahead at the break.

Valentina Giacinti saw an effort saved well and Giada Greggi turned a shot wide that she would have expected to finish as she went through on goal.

Giada Greggi warms up for AS Roma (@ASRomaWomen)

Lucia Martinkova put the hosts ahead from nowhere, and the goal was gifted to her by Roma. Playing out from the back, Manuela Giugliano had a moment to forget as a poor touch and worse pass sent the no.7 through to finish.

Although Roma looked as though they weren’t going to have any luck on the night, they kept pressing in the belief that the equaliser would come. Benedetta Glionna made an instant impact after her introduction on the hour mark, and changed the flow of the game back into Roma’s favour.

With 77 minutes played, Giugliano whipped a corner onto Elisa Bartoli’s foot and she volleyed into the bottom corner to level, but they didn’t stop there. 

Again pressing without the ball and pushing with it, Glionna’s fellow substitute Paloma Lazaro found Emilie Haavi on the left and she clipped an effort in off the crossbar to win it in the 90th minute. 

Will Roma and Juventus qualify for the Women’s Champions League?

Juventus Women celebrate a goal. (@JuventusFCWomen)

Roma, leading 2-1, are very well placed to progress to the group stages for the first time. They host Sparta Praha on Thursday, September 29 knowing a place in the group stages awaits them.

Juventus have a little bit more work to do and, as a result, may switch things up against Sassuolo in Serie A on Saturday, but the Italian champions have come through worse situations in the past and will back themselves to return to the group stages for the second straight season.

Last year they made it to the knockout rounds before losing over two legs to eventual champions Lyon.

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