Linköping won its first-ever Swedish women's soccer crown with a 4-0 win over Umeå.
By Chipp Reid
Umeå IK lived up to one of its expectations, but fell short of its final goal when it lost the Damallsvenskan showdown match Oct. 31 to Linköping.
The victory gave LFC its first-ever Swedish women’s soccer championship and first-ever double. Linköping beat Umeå in the Cup final earlier in October.
Linköping left little doubt it would end Umeå’s reign as champions as it attacked its northern rivals right from the start. UIK came into the match trailing LFC by one point in the race for the Crown Princess Victoria trophy. However, Umeå had to contend with the added pressure of living up to the terms of an emergency financial bailout it received from city businesses.
UIK nearly folded in October when it revealed a $200,000 deficit and lack of funds to continue the season. City businesses and individual fans responded with a mass injection of cash that saved the team this season and offered hope for next year. However, the bailout came with the caveat that Umeå must remain in the Damallsvenskan if not win the league.
Linköping's Jessica Landström made sure the UIK would fall short of its second goal as she scored once and set up a second goal to lead Linköping to a 4-0 victory.
Petra Larsson put LFC in front after 33 minutes when she connected on a pass from Caroline Seger. Landström then took over, scoring in the 53rd minute and setting up Maria Karlsson at the 75-minute mark.
Kosovare Asllani made the score 4-0 in the 90th minute.
“It is just fantastic,” said Karlsson, who spent 10 years with BK Kenty and LIFC during the club’s lean years. “We proved we are the best team in Sweden.”
The victory also gave Linköping its first-ever spot in the UEFA Women’s Champions League, where it faces German powerhouse Duisburg Nov. 11.
For Umeå, the season ended on a high note Nov. 7 as it defeated Piteå 5-1 in the final match of the season. The victory gave Umeå second place in the league, a spot in the Champions League and paid a dividend on the city’s investment.
“It was very important for us to reach the Champions League,” said UIK captain Karolina Westberg. “We had a lot to live up to and I think we did very well this season despite all the hardships.”
The match was the last one for Westberg, who retired from football. She was one of four long-serving Swedish internationals that played their final professional match on the last day of the season. Djurgården striker Victoria Svensson and midfielder Linda Fagerström and Hammarby striker Kristin Bengtsson also hung up their boots.
LDB Malmö finished third in the standings following a 1-0 win over Sunnanå. Kopparbergs/Göteborg fell to fourth place after losing 4-3 to AIK.
Piteå and Stattena were relegated.