Union Beat Grasshoppers

Final Campoamor Test is Passed

Fri, 26. January 2024
Union Beat Grasshoppers

Union’s women’s team won the second friendly of 2014 at their Campoamor training camp on Friday afternoon, 3-0, over Swiss first division side Grasshopper Club Zürich. Dina Orschmann opened the scoring in only the seventh minute before she was joined on the scoresheet by Lisa Heiseler and Sarah Abu Sabbah.

1. FC Union Berlin: Wagner (46. Hornschuch) – K. Orschmann (64. Schindler), Becker, D. Orschmann – Metzker, Moraitou (81. Görsdorf), Görsdorf (46. Frank), Heiseler (81. Blaschka), Bach (46. Niesler) – Abu Sabbah, Blaschka (64. Youssef) 

Grasshoppers Club Zürich: Bürki (33. Rutishauser (64. Roch)) – Flury (46. Egli), Dongus (46. Laino), Müller (46. Lempérière) – Blässe (46. Pfister), Jackson, Ivelj, Potier (46. Meroni) – Ljuština, S. Schertenleib (46. Kadriu) – L. Schertenleib (46. Pápai) 

Goals: 1-0 D. Orschmann (7.), 2-0 Heiseler (40.), 3-0 Abu Sabbah (48.) 

As they left the pitch, the Spanish sunshine slipping slowly towards the horizon and the end of Union’s training camp in Campoamor looming, the smiles on the Union players faces were a mile wide. They’d won their second game of 2024, and more importantly, had overcome a side who had threatened their supremacy in a way throughout the first half that has so rarely happened over the last year.

Indeed, that Union were 1-0 up after seven minutes seemed somewhat of an aberration, because they’d barely had the ball in Grasshopper Club’s half by that point. Their passes weren’t reaching their targets, they seemed curiously disjointed, and their opponents were finding gaps in the midfield that few who have seen them in the Regionalliga dared to believe existed at all. They could consider themselves somewhat fortunate that Sabina Jackson put wide after a minute.

But there is something about this team that renders all of that somewhat irrelevant at times. Against the run of play Sarah Abu Sabbah picked up the ball in midfield, hit the most perfect of diagonal balls, low and from just inside the Grasshoppers’ half, to Dina Orschmann. Orschmann wouldn’t need to be asked twice. She took a touch as the keeper, Saskia Bürki, came out and beat her with a fizzing shot to her left.

It had taken but a couple of seconds.

The Swiss weren’t to be opened up that easily for a while again though. They were patient, they pressed hard, and played a succession of balls through Union’s midfield, where Marie Becker and Katja Orschmann did well to sweep them up. It was Katja’s superb double tackle on Noemi Ivelj and Lilian Schertenleib with about ten minutes of the half to play – sliding inside the box from the right with perfect timing and gritted teeth - that deserved to take the plaudits though, after another lapse had seen Union give the ball away. Special mention should also go to Mel Wagner, who made at least one superb stop in the first half.  

Within moments of that, though, Union made it two. If the first goal was from a flash of inspiration and quick thinking, this one had a little more fortune to it. Abu Sabbah received the ball in the box from Athanasia Moraitou, but she couldn’t get it out from under her feet. It bobbled and rolled out of her clutches, but only as far as Lisa Heiseler who only had to sweep it home.

Grasshoppers Club did get the ball in the net after that, Sydney Schertenleib certain she’d score, but the referee had spotted a foul as she stamped past Becker on her way towards goal and quickly ruled it out. Hurt, Becker stayed down for a little while after that, receiving treatment, but this only proved an opportunity to get the team together by the touchline for Ailien Poese that was not passed up. Only Dina Orschmann and Moraitou stayed on the pitch to keep an eye on their stricken centre-back. They improved as the game wore on.

Meanwhile Abu Sabbah was champing at the bit. Her touch to bring down Katja Orschmann’s longest of free kicks was a work of art, killing the ball stone dead, but the Regionalliga Nordost’s top scorer was desperate not to leave Spain without a souvenir. She got it a minute later when she picked up a misplaced backpass, 35 yards from goal of more. Seeing Bürki’s replacement, Isabel Rutishauser, well off her line she clipped – as distinctly opposed to chipped – the ball over her, the coolest woman in the world at that moment. After the final whistle it was she who had the biggest grin on her face of all.

Wagner’s replacement, Sarah Hornschuch, still had to make a couple of stops before the end, both from the dangerous Yilka Kadriu, but by this point the game was up.

But the test they had provided – one that Union had most certainly passed- had been vital.