Canadians in Europe: Leon scores first Villa goal
Adriana Leon helped pick up a key three points with her first goal in an Aston Villa shirt. Plus, Julia Grosso found the back of the net in a Juventus rout. Here's a look at Canadians in Europe over the weekend.
Adriana Leon, Aston Villa - It took six games, but Adriana Leon scored her first goal in an Aston Villa shirt on Sunday in a hard-fought battle with her former side, West Ham, in East London. While things didn't start well for Leon, they ended well as Villa picked up all three points in a 3-2 victory. Midway through the first half, Leon grabbed the spotlight for the wrong reason. Defending Kirsty Smith one-on-one, the Mississauga, Ont. native's trailing foot caught the Scotland defender in the area and the referee immediately pointed to the spot in the 27th. France forward Viviane Asseyi stepped up to take and sent Daphne van Domselaar the wrong way after a quick stutter step to make it 1-0 for the hosts. The Hammers' lead wouldn't last long, though. From a free kick in the 31st, Rachel Daly sent a header across the face of goal where it was met by Anna Patten to head home for an equalizer. The match would carry that scoreline into halftime. Just a few minutes after the restart, Leon made up for her earlier mistake. Kenza Dali sent a free kick into the area where it was met by Patten. Her header wasn't cleared by the West Ham backline and the ball fell to Leon, who chipped home to give the visitors a 2-1 lead in the 50th. After heaps of pressure, the hosts thought they had earned a point in the 80th. Smith's corner was cleared by Villa, but only as far as Asseyi just outside the area. She teed up Lisa Evans, who hit a terrific left-footed volley to even things up at 2-2. But Daly would steal the three points for the visitors in stoppage with a fine effort of her own. Rachel Corsie chipped a ball into the area that Mayumi Pacheco headed down for the England striker to meet with her left foot to make it 3-2 in the 92nd to stun the home fans. Leon would finish her afternoon with 19 carries, three tackles and an interception. The goal was Leon's 11th career goal in the Women's Super League, having scored nine with Hammers and one with Manchester United.
Julia Grosso, Juventus - It was a long day at the office for Inter in the Derby D'Italia as they were crushed by Julia Grosso's Juventus with the Vancouver native finding the scoresheet in the 5-0 rout. The match couldn't have started worse for the Nerazzurri. In just the second minute, the Inter backline made a meal of a simple ball from Lindsey Thomas to Paulina Nystrom near the touchline. The Sweden midfielder then squared for Arianna Caruso to beat Francesca Durante at the near post to make it 1-0. While it was a well struck shot, it was a goal that the Inter 'keeper should easily have kept out. Then it was Grosso's turn only minutes later. Skipping into the area, the 23-year-old Olympic gold medalist unleashed a beautiful left-footed volley to make it 2-0 in the 5th. Inter managed to hold the fort for the remainder of the first half, but Juve was far from finished. From a free kick in the 52nd, Thomas was first to Caruso's ball into the area and she beat Durante to make it 3-0. The France forward then completed a brace in the 60th, finishing off a nifty passing play with her right foot. Juve rounded out the scoring in the 79th when Cristiana Girelli scored from the spot after she had been taken down in the area by Flaminia Simonetti. For Grosso, in her third season in Torino, it was her third goal of the season. She played 68 minutes in the match, completing 36 of 38 pass attempts and adding two tackles and an interception to go along with her goal.
Cloé Lacasse, Arsenal - Arsenal kept up the pressure on Chelsea at the top of the table with a 3-0 victory over Brighton in a match that was closer than the score indicated. The Gunners opened the scoring in the 12th with a goal that had a bit of an odor to it. Katie McCabe's ball near the goal mouth was completely misplayed by the Seagulls' backline and it fell to a completely unmarked Stina Blackstenius. The Sweden forward absolutely whiffed on her shot, but was somehow allowed another opportunity when nobody closed her down. With her second effort, she sent a looping ball over the outstretched arm of Sophie Baggaley to make it 1-0. The hosts kept up the pressure on the Gunners for the majority of the match, but it was Arsenal who got the second goal of the game in the 80th after wearing down Brighton's resolve. Pouncing on a poor Brighton pass, Caitlin Foord let loose with a skipping shot from distance that beat Baggaley to wrap up the three points and make it 2-0. But the Gunners weren't finished scoring with Cloé Lacasse getting in on the action. The Sudbury, Ont. came on in the 64th for Beth Mead and helped set up Frida Maanum's stoppage-time marker. Beating two markers down the left side, Alessia Russo crossed the ball into the are for Lacasse, who elected not to shoot and instead set up Maanum almost at the penalty spot to curl home in the 95th and make it 3-0. In her first season with Arsenal since a summer move from Benfica, the assist was Lacasse's second on the campaign.