Paris FC 1-2 BK Häcken: Rosa Kafaji in sensational form as hosts fall to defeat in French capital

Having caused a stir in the final qualification round of the 2023/24 UEFA Women’s Champions League process after knocking out last season’s finalists VfL Wolfsburg 5-3 on aggregate, including a 2-0 second-leg victory on German soil, Paris FC kicked off their sixth match of this year’s competition.

Meanwhile, BK Häcken arrived in France after agonisingly missing out on the Damallsvenskan title four days ago in the final round of matches in the 2022/23 campaign by remarkably only a one-goal swing in overall goal difference with eventual winners Hammarby.

PAR: Nnadozie; Soyer, Hocine, Gréboval, Bogaert; Matéo, Corboz, Korošec; Thiney, Dufour, Bourdieu

HAC: Falk; Kosola, Luik, Rybrink, Junttila-Nelhage; Bergman-Lundin, Curmark; Sandberg, Kafaji, Anvegård; Masaka

Having netted the second-most goals in the Division 1 Féminine this season (26) – with only reigning champions Olympique Lyonnais Féminin scoring more – Paris FC expectedly began on the attacking front foot as Clara Matéo forced a smart save from visiting goalkeeper Jennifer Falk within the opening two minutes of the contest on a chilly night in the French capital.

Nonetheless, Häcken were not within their opportunities to break the deadlock within the opening quarter-hour as Rosa Kafaji’s header was well-gathered by Chiamaka Nnadozie.

Somewhat against the run of play, the visitors would make their presence felt by taking the lead shortly after the half-hour mark, as the highly-regarded Kafaji inconspicuously ran in-between the Blues’ defence to fire Anna Anvegård’s pin-point pass into the back of the net beyond Nnadozie.

BK Häcken celebrate a goal against Paris FC on Tuesday [PHOTO: HUGO PFEIFFER / BILDBYRÅN]

Hoping to return to the home dressing room for half time back on level terms, Paris again tested the reflexes of Falk as the Swedish international met the incoming challenge with a visibly stunning save for the cameras to prevent Julie Dufour from getting her name on the scoresheet.

On the losing side in only one of their 11 matches in all competitions this season, the hosts determinedly continued to pursue an equaliser goal at the beginning of the second half as Dufour disappointingly fired wide of the mark when left advantageously with a one-on-one opportunity with Nnadozie.

However, in devastating style, Häcken would double their lead in the 56th minute as Anna Sandberg brilliantly fired Marika Bergman-Lundin’s delicious defence-splitting delivery into the back of the net.

Excitingly for the majority in attendance, that would turn out not to be the end of an enthralling bums-off-seats restart to proceedings, as Dufour halved the arrears from the penalty spot after Häcken captain Filippa Curmark scythed down Mathilde Bourdieu as the Paris striker menacingly made her way into the area.

Further goalscoring chances would then be exchanged at either end of the pitch with time gradually beginning to run out, as initially, Falk denied Gaëtane Thiney before Häcken defender Aivi Luik was denied a decisive third goal courtesy of a smart save from Nnadozie.

Nonetheless, Thiney’s chance would ultimately be Paris’ final significant opportunity to salvage a share of the spoils on their UEFA Women’s Champions League group-stage debut, as Häcken remained in pole position to open their 2023/24 campaign at the first time of asking, and somewhat put their Damallsvenskan disappointments behind them.