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Linkoping FC 3 Liverpool 0
There was disappointment for Liverpool as they crashed out of the UEFA Women's Champions League after a 4-2 aggregate defeat to Swedish outfit Linkopings on Thursday night.
Matt Beard's side headed into the second leg protecting a 2-1 lead and in a buoyant frame of mind after clinching the FA Women's Super League title in dramatic circumstances on Sunday.
However, as they found out from the first leg, Linkoping are a very good side and on home turf they can be a handful for any team. On the night they were the stronger side and a hat-trick from Fredolino Rolfo on her competition debut secured a 3-0 win and with it a 4-2 aggregate victory.
The home side made a bright start at the Linkoping Arena and almost went in front when Pernille Harder found space only to see her effort superbly kept out by Libby Stout. Liverpool then carved out an opening themselves when Kate Longhurst found Natasha Dowie in space but her shot was charged down.
Stout continued to be an inspired presence in the Liverpool goal but she was finally beaten in the 22nd minute when Rolfo latched onto a through ball and fired home.
Inspired by the strike, Linkoping were hungry for more goals and it was only the agility of Stout that kept Beard's charges in the game before the opening half was over.
However, two minutes into the second half it was 2-0 when Rolfo netted, and the striker completed her hat-trick moments later after Stout's initial save.
Liverpool did not let their heads go down and had a great chance when Gemma Davison charged through and was unlucky to see her effort go just wide.
The Reds then had a strong appeal for a penalty turned down when Katrin Omarsdottir's effort appeared to strike an arm, but sadly it was all in vain as Linkoping marched on to the last sixteen.
Beard's side will learn from this experience and come back a stronger side when they play in the competition once again in 2015.
Linkoping FC: Kathlynn Fraine, Janni Arnth, Mariann Knudsen, Charlotte Rohlin, Claudia Neto, Kristine Minde, Magdalena Ericsson, Maja Krantz, Fridolina Rolfo (sub Linda Sallstrom 90mins), Pernille Harder, Jonna Andersson (sub Stina Blackstenius 78mins). Subs not used: Hilde Gunn Olsen, Jennie Nordin, Emma Lennartsson, Tove Almqvist, Venera Rexhi.
Liverpool: Libby Stout, Martha Harris (sub Nina Pedersen 64mins), Corina Schroder, Fara Williams, Gemma Bonner, Lucy Bronze, Kate Longhurst (sub Nicole Rolser 56mins), Katrin Omarsdottir (sub Katie Zelem 77mins), Natasha Dowie, Amanda Da Costa, Gemma Davison. Subs not used: Danielle Gibbons, Becky Easton, Ashley Hodson, Ellie Stewart.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
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