FC Rosengård 2-2 Benfica: Mai Kadowaki’s late equaliser restricts the flight of Eagles in Malmö

Already eliminated from the 2023/24 UEFA Women’s Champions League after losing the first four of their group stage matches, Rosengård had only pride to play for against Benfica – who on the other hand found themselves in prime position to join defending champions Barcelona in the knockout stages.

ROS: Mukasa; Jansson, Arnardóttir, Wik; Larsson, Bredgaard, Ayinde, Öling, Schough; Kadowaki, Sprung

BEN: Pauels; Amado, Costa, Ucheibe, Seiça; Norton, Gasper, Faria; Silva, d’Anjou, Falcón

Having only celebrated scoring once in four matches across their forgettable 2023/24 UEFA Women’s Champions League campaign, Rosengård caught Benfica off-guard shortly before the quarter-hour mark. Olivia Schough broke the deadlock with an exquisite strike from distance that nestled perfectly into the corner of the net.

Determined to get back on level terms, the Eagles kept Angel Mukasa on her toes throughout the remainder of the half – albeit not equalising – as particular efforts from Andreia Faria and Jéssica Silva kept their attacking stats ticking over.

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Whilst unable to find a way past Mukasa in the opening 45-minutes, it took Benfica only a merciless five-minute second-half spell in front of goal to turn the match on its head. Silva instinctively got the Eagles back on level terms in the 52nd minute by slotting home from practically underneath the crossbar, following Faria’s fierce long-range effort that kindly dropped into her path after crashing off the paintwork of said woodwork.

Emma Jansson’s inexplicably mistimed back-pass then fell short of Mukasa, gifting Marie-Yasmine Alidou d’Anjou the simple task of collecting the ball, rounding the Rosengård goalkeeper, and slotting the ball into an empty net for her sixteenth goal of the season in all competitions.

Feeling the effects of not only surrendering their first-half advantage, but falling behind, Rosengård rallied back valiantly with Sofie Bredgaard’s effort well-saved by Lena Pauels. However, there was nothing that the Benfica number one could do to prevent the hosts from producing a late leveller as Mai Kadowaki confidently slotted home Ria Öling’s pin-point pass with eight minutes left to play in regular time.

The Japanese striker’s first goal in this season’s UWCL group-stage campaign would go on to earn Rosengård their first point after five matches, but ultimately only for pride with progression to the knockout stage already an impossibility.

In contrasting circumstances, Benfica remain four points ahead of Eintracht Frankfurt – knowing if the Frauen-Bundesliga-based outfit fail to beat Barcelona later this evening in Spain, they will confirm their participation in the next round.