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Popp bursts Everton's bubble
 Women's Football News 18 Mar 2011
Everton 1 (Dowie 59) Duisburg 3 (Ando 51, Popp 58,64)
Everton have been left with a huge task in the second leg of their UEFA Women's Champions League quarter final tie after a couple of defensive errors left them with a two-goal deficit against Duisburg.
Mo Marley's side had matched the former winners for long periods of the game but a great strike by Kozue Ando and two clinical finishes from Alexandra Popp mean that Duisburg are well in control of the tie.
Everton approached the game with confidence and started well with Jody Handley bringing out a save from Christina Bellinghoven and Toni Duggan going close as she was denied by a saving tackle following a good run.
However Duisburg became more of a force as the half wore on and created three opportunities in a five-minute period. Simone Laudehr tricked her way to the goal line and cut the ball back for Mandy Islacker whose shot was charged down by Fern Whelan and barely a minute later, Popp burst through the Everton defence and her effort was deflected inches wide.
Popp then put in a dangerous cross which eluded both Femke Maes and Islacker as they tried to slide the ball home in front of goal.
The first half ended goalless but the German side grabbed themselves a precious away goal within six minutes of the restart. Ando picked up the ball around 30 yards from goal and the Japanese winger drove her shot past Rachel Brown for the opener.
Everton tried to hit back with Natasha Dowie flicking on Fara Williams' long pass to Duggan whose shot was deflected across the face of goal and from the resulting corner, Williams fired just wide from the edge of the area.
However at the other end, Everton gave the ball away and Islacker slid her pass through to Popp who got past Lindsay Johnson before drilling a left foot shot into the far corner of the net.
This time, Everton came up with an instantaneous response to get themselves back into the match. Brooke Chaplen played the ball out wide for Handley who crossed to the near post where Dowie beat Bellinghoven with a deft glancing header.
As they began to build up momentum, another error cost Everton dear and left them with a mountain to climb. Johnson's pass was pounced on by Popp who intercepted and made her way through on goal where she once again produced a clinical finish, giving Brown no chance.
Everton did not give up and continued to create further opportunities. Dowie has having a fine match up front, firstly going close with a looping header which dropped just over and then with an angled left foot shot that was narrowly off target. Dowie turned creator five minutes later, her low cross picking out Duggan whose shot was blocked.
A scramble in the Everton goalmouth could have led to another Duisburg goal before Lucy Bronze hacked the ball clear from inside the six yard box. Back came Everton and, following a foul on Dowie, Williams' free kick was punched away by Bellinghoven but the ball did not fall kindly for an Everton player.
The second leg is sure to be a hard task for Everton but they will be encouraged by the number of chances they created on the night against top class opposition - although they will have to score first when the sides meet again next week.
Everton: Rachel Brown, Becky Easton (sub Lucy Bronze 61mins), Rachel Unitt, Fara Williams, Fern Whelan, Lindsay Johnson, Jody Handley, Jill Scott, Natasha Dowie, Brooke Chaplen, Toni Duggan (sub Gwennan Harries 81mins). Subs not used: Michelle Hinnigan, Danielle Hill, Alex Greenwood, Nikita Parris, Amy Kane.

Duisburg: Christina Bellinghoven, Luisa Wensing, Sonja Fuss, Marina Himminghofen, Femke Maes, Jennifer Oster (sub Anne van Bonn 87mins), Kozue Ando (sub Turid Knaak 66mins), Annemieke Kiesel-Griffioen, Alexandra Popp, Mandy Islacker (sub Stefanie Weichelt 78mins), Simone Laudehr. Subs not used: Ursula Holl, Inka Grings, Linda Bresonik.

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