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28 November 2019 | in University World Cup Football

Paulista and Ottawa earn their spots in the women's final

University World Cup - Football women's finalists confirmed as hosts bow out in style 


JINJIANG, People’s Republic of China — Every story needs a setting and the penalty kick hashmark played the part to near perfection as Beijing Normal University took on the University of Ottawa in the semifinals of the KELME 2019 FISU University World Cup - Football women’s tournament.


Playing to a nil-nil draw thorough ninety minutes, the game moved to penalty kicks as the University of Ottawa prevailed, 5-4, to take their place in Saturday’s final against Paulista University. 


Facing Beijing Normal University winger Xinyue Zhang, Ottawa goalkeeper Margot Shore picked up a visual clue. She then took a mid-hip leap of faith to the left.


"The Beijing penalty shots were very focused, very well-rehearsed and very well executed,” Shore said after the game. “On the save, I just saw something with how she stepped up, how her hips were, and how her body was. I decided to go 100 percent in this direction. As soon as she stepped into the shot, I knew I was going to get good contact on the ball.” 


Shore got both hands on it for the block. 2-1 advantage, Ottawa. 


With both Beijing Normal and Ottawa's next three shots going in, late-game substitute Angelina Gendreau stepped up for the potential game-winner. The human kinetics major didn’t miss, cleanly hitting her corner mark.


Shore’s teammates and coaches rushed to the goal line in celebration.


“It’s an incredible feeling, I don’t even know how to describe my emotions,” Gendreau said after the joyous melee. “Margot made a wonderful save in the PKs. That boosted our confidence just to go other there and take our shots.”

 After the University of Ottawa's Angelina Gendreau scored the game-winning penalty kick, her teammates and coaches celebrated on the Jinjiang Football Park field

Despite losing the coin-flip, both Gendreau and Shore said that Beijing Normal deferring to defend first put the penalty kick shot sequencing in their favour.  “I’d rather step up to make a save first,” Shore said. “I think it takes a little more of the pressure off of the shooters; they don’t have to worry about being the first to make a miss or to get saved.”


Affectionately known as the “Gee-Gees” for the University of Ottawa’s garnet and grey school colours, players and coaches alike acknowledged the impressive offensive display Beijing Normal University put on during the first half.


“The first 45 minutes, Beijing Normal put on a fantastic display. They were winning the ball in the midfield, playing through the wings and creating chances by crossing the ball,” University of Ottawa head coach Steven Johnson said. “They created a lot of problems for us.”


The Chinese side’s multiple goal scoring opportunities started in the eight-minute when striker Yueyu Li collected a teammate’s chip shot and fired a shot on goal that ricocheted off the Ottawa goalkeeper’s hands. One minute later, Li fed winger Zhao with a through ball that skirted behind Ottawa’s defense. While Shore corralled the ball, Ottawa’s goal-giving narrow escapes continued for the next half hour of play. This included a beautiful one-touch volley from Ting Xie that caromed off the crossbar in the thirtieth minute. Another Zhao shot just before the halftime whistle had Shore leaping to punch the ball over the goal. 


On the other side of the pitch, towering play from the Beijing Normal’s back four snuffed out Ottawa’s attempts to cross the ball into goal-scoring position from the wings while Furong Wang’s goalkeeping adventures away from the net stamped out Ottawa’s through-ball attempts to get their three-striker attack going. 


As the game wore on, the North American squad clawed back and gained the game's momentum before the end of regulation. It wasn’t for a lack of football atmosphere as fans cheered on the last remaining Chinese team left in the tournament. Packing the stadium's lower bowl, they sang school fight songs throughout the contest. 


“In the second half, we kind of ran out of our energy,” Beijing Normal University head coach Changquan Wang said during a post game press conference. “But overall we’re really satisfied with our team’s performance tonight. Our team’s spirit, effort and intensity were extraordinary.”




Paulista University earns their place in the women’s final



JINJIANG, People's Republic of China - As chilly winds caused the mercury to drop at the Quanzhou College of Technology Stadium, the first women’s semifinal of the KELME 2019 FISU University World Cup - Football had quite the opposite effect on the field.

Unlike the men’s draw, where the top eight played quarterfinals, in the women’s tournament the top two teams from both groups qualified directly for the semifinals. Group A toppers Paulista University of Brazil took on the second placed team in Group B, College of Asian Scholars, Thailand.


Both teams had been impressive coming into the semifinals, and the clash did not disappoint. Amidst constant chatter from both dugouts and also among the players, there was some fast, frenetic play on display.


Despite the sizzling action, the tight, tense encounter went goalless into halftime and it seemed the match would continue that way. However, there was a dramatic turnaround in the second half as the Brazilians really came into their own.


Bruna Calderan (foreground) and Gabrielle Da Costa Just two minutes into the second half, when the Thai women had not quite regrouped yet, Paulista’s No.7 Gabrielle Da Costa fired in a goal that would alter the course of the match.


“I am very happy because it is my birthday today,” said Da Costa after the game. “So, it was the best birthday present. For us, it seems it’s better to score our goals in the second half!”


And score they did. After that first goal, it was all Paulista from then on. No.17 Kimberlyn Damares Brandino ran around like a rocket in the midfield, creating a lot of opportunities for them and in the 57th minute, No.3 Ariane Correia made it 2-0 for Paulista.


Already looking secure of a win, there was dramatic action in the very last minute of regulation time. No.8 Bruna Calderan pulled a neat double trick as she first headed the ball into position for herself to then kick straight into the back of the net.


With that, just minutes short of the final whistle, it was 3-0 for Paulista University and they had cemented their place in Saturday’s final in which they will play University of Ottawa.