Birkirkara bow out of UEFA Women’s Champions League after defeat to FC Zurich

Birkirkara lost 1-3 to Swiss champions FC Zurich in the final of Group 11 of the UEFA Women’s Champions League 2023/24 Round 1 at the Centenary Stadium on Saturday.

Therefore the Stripes, who had defeated FK Breznica of Montenegro 1-0 in the semi-final, settle for second place in the mini-tournament. A historic result for Birkirkara as this is the best placing ever for a Maltese team in the competition.

The Swiss champions managed to take the lead on the 34th minute thanks to Seraina Pubel who exchanged the ball with Alayah Pilgrim before beating Janice Xuereb with a low shot from inside the area.

Zurich doubled the score nine minutes in the second half when Viktoria Pinther headed the ball down for Vanessa Bernauer who hit low past the Birkirkara goalkeeper.

Eleven minutes from time, FC Zurich extended the lead courtesy of Viktoria Pinther who took the ball off a Stephania Farrugia clearance and with a fine shot from the edge of the area beat Xuereb.

Four minutes in added time, Birkirkara scored a consolation goal when a freekick by Ann-Marie Said from the left was not held by goalkeeper Noemi Benz and substitute Francesca Chircop hit home from close range.

ZURICH Noemi Benz, Naomi Megroz, Diane Caldwell, Oliwia Wos, Alayah Pilgrim (83′ Monika Ibishaj), Viktoria Pinther (83′ Romy Baraniak), Marion Rey, Amelie Schuster (46′ Vanessa Bernauer), Seraina Piubel, Leela Egli (83′ Chaira Bucher), Fabienne Humm.

BIRKIRKARA Janice Xuereb, Gabriella Zahra (80′ Francesca Chircop), Ann-Marie Said, Stephania Farrugia, Edith Garcia Falero, Raina Giusti (36′ Mariah Cardona)(60′ Veronique Mifsud), Charlene Zammit, Marta Grosso, Arianna Del Moral (80′ Martina Fenech), Caitlin Rogers, Valentina Rapa.

Referee: Fabienne Michel GER