The clean sheet: 5 August

It came home. And what a homecoming it was. The performance was magical and Chloe Kelly’s winner will no doubt be replayed time and again. But even more compelling were the scenes that ensued afterwards at the Euro 2022 final. The emotion and huge numbers at the celebrations showed how much this meant to the public, also showing the progress women’s football continues to make. How exciting is it that an even bigger version of this event, the World Cup, will be on our door step in little under a year’s time?

The Battle of the Saddle is always a fierce one, although there is more than bragging rights on the line in tomorrow’s encounter between Green Island and Mosgiel at Sunnyvale. Just one point separates the teams, in eighth and ninth place respectively, on the Southern League table. The winner of the derby would go a long way to staving off the threat of relegation. In Christchurch, the Dunedin City Royals will look to bounce back from their Chatham Cup loss to Auckland City against Nomads United. At the top of the table, Cashmere Technical and Christchurch United have cleared out, and are tied on 37 points, although United has a game in hand — which it makes up on Tuesday against Nomads.

The Royals women are not invincible, so it turns out. They were well-beaten 3-0 by a quality Coastal Spirit team last weekend. The good news, at least from a southern perspective, is that this was not a game with any real significance. The two teams meet again in the Women’s South Island Championship final this weekend. Win or lose, this has been a fantastic initiative to provide more high-quality games for the South Island’s top players.

It seems as though last season only just finished — and to be fair it was only 10 weeks ago — but the English Premier League returns this weekend. Certainly there will be a large contingent on Kiwi fans happy to see the league back on Sky Sport, for the first time in nearly a decade. Is the title still Manchester City’s to lose? How are you feeling about your team’s chances?

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