At 37, O’Reilly nets winner 4 minutes into Women’s CL debut
MURSKA SOBOTA, Slovenia (AP) — Former United States international Heather O’Reilly scored just four minutes into her Women’s Champions League debut to give Irish team Shelbourne a 1-0 win over Slovenian club Pomurje on Thursday in the first round of qualifying for the group stage.
O’Reilly came out of retirement at the age of 37 in order to play in the competition for the first time, which she said was the only thing missing on a resume that includes three Olympic gold medals and a World Cup victory.
She retired from internationals in 2016 and from club soccer in 2019 before announcing her return last month.
In Slovenia, O’Reilly scored with a header that looped over the goalkeeper after the Slovenian team failed to clear a cross into the area just four minutes into the game.
“What a dream come true,” O’Reilly said in an interview posted online by the club. “Playing in the champions League was such a life dream for me, and so I can’t believe it actually happened today. And to add to it, obviously to score, and that being the game winner is just amazing. … I didn’t think it was going to be possible in my career.”
Shelbourne advances to a playoff final against Icelandic club Valur on Sunday where the winner will enter the second round of qualifying for the 16-team group stage.
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