Report | Swansea City Ladies 0 Ferencváros 7
Swansea City Ladies’ Champions League adventure came to an end with defeat against Hungarian champions Ferencváros in their group two third-placed play-off.
Ferencváros had been defeated 3-1 by Rangers in their semi-final on Thursday to set up this contest, and the Scottish side were crowned group two winners earlier in the day after comfortably seeing off hosts AC PAOK - who had themselves beaten the Swans on Thursday - in a 4-0 win.
And it proved a challenging night for the Welsh champions as goals for Shameeka Fishley, Viktória Szabó (2), Biljana Bradić, Luca Papp and Hanna Marie Barker, plus an own-goal by Ellie Lake gave their opponents a convincing victory.
The frustration for Swansea will be that the final scoreline did not reflect an encouraging opening half-hour, which had seen Stacey John-Davis force a good save from the keeper, and Katy Hosford hit the crossbar, while midfielder Jess Williams also hit the woodwork with one of the final kicks of the match.
The ruthless Hungarian champions could have taken the lead inside the first minute when Fishley – who had also scored in Thursday’s defeat - headed wide from a cross to the back post.
The Swans showed plenty of energy in the middle of the park and, when they won the ball back, the front two of Hosford and John-Davis were working hard to make runs into the space behind the Ferencváros defence.
Shauna Jenkins found one of those runs with a perfectly weighted curved pass into the run of John-Davis, but the forward’s effort from a narrow angle was well saved by Barbara Bíró.
Swansea keeper Claire Skinner then made two big interventions in quick succession. She raced off her line well to take the ball off the toes of Papp, whose pace had got her beyond the Swansea defence, before pulling off a sublime fingertip stop to prevent Bradić’s curling, dipping left-footed shot sneaking in under the cross bar.
At the other end, another excellent Jenkins through-ball released Hosford, who outsprinted the covering defender and dinked the ball over the onrushing keeper, only to see her effort hit the crossbar.
Fishley then gave the Hungarian side the lead with a little less than 10 minutes of the first half remaining. It was a well-timed run from the Leeds-born forward which left her with only Skinner to beat – and she slotted calmly inside the far post.
And the lead was doubled just three minutes later when Diána Németh’s corner delivery was put in by Szabó
Confidence was flowing through Swansea’s opponents and Bradić had two chances to extend the lead before half-time; an audacious overhead kick was well stopped by Skinner, before she scuffed a shot into the arms of the keeper after the side broke following a Swansea free-kick.
Bradić did get her goal shortly after the break. Fishley squared the ball to her in the middle of the six yard box and – with Skinner committed at the near post - all the Serbian had to do was tap into the empty net.
It soon got worse for the Swans. After making blocks, tackles and riding their luck when a shot clattered off the crossbar, Szabó’s hopeful cross towards ended up dipping awkwardly and creeping inside the far post to give her a second of the match and her team a fourth.
At the other end, substitute Gwennan Horgan had Swansea’s first chance of the half. A hopeful ball into the box by John-Davis was headed on by Hosford – who showed good strength to hold off the challenges of the defender. Horgan found the target but Bíró got down to her right to make the save.
There was more bad news for Swansea as skipper Alicia Powe was forced off with an injury with just over 20 minutes of the match remaining and, while Swansea were still reorganising, Papp added a fifth goal.
The Swans had a decent spell following the introduction of some fresh legs from the bench, but for all the smart passing around the Ferencváros box, they weren’t able to test the keeper and it was the Hungarian side who would race down the other end and further extend their lead – American Barker finishing off the counter-attacking move.
With four minutes left on the clock, Papp whipped in a corner to the near post, which spun horribly off the turf - which had hosted all four group games in just four days – and Lake miskicked her clearance and could only watch it skew into her own net.
Williams almost got one back for in injury time when her free-kick clattered off the crossbar, but there was to be no consolation for the Swans.