Glasgow City go into the second leg of their last 16 tie against Danish champions Brondby IF with a 2-0 lead after a first minute own goal from Emilie Henriksen and a Katrine Abel error game Scott Booth’s side a first ever away win at this stage of the tournament at the fourth time of asking.
It is a handy, but not insurmountable, advantage going into tonight’s second leg at Petershill Park and here at Leading the Line we wanted to give you just a little more insight into what has happened since that sodden Copenhagen evening two weeks ago. If you want to read the full preview to the tie you still can right here.
City have maintained their 100% league record meaning they go into this second leg already guaranteed Champions League football having sealed a 13th consecutive SWPL title.
They followed up their victory in Denmark with a 5-0 victory away to Forfar Farmington with Jenna Clark, Sam Kerr, Carly Girasoli and Hayley Sinclair getting on the scoresheet. They then sealed that title triumph three days later in the far from salubrious surroundings of Wishaw Sports Centre, rattling ten past Motherwell in a game that has gone down in infamy as much for the venue choice as it has for it’s historical significance as City sealed a British record 13-in-a-row with Sinclair and Kirsty Howat each scoring two.
Their biggest challenge came this Sunday past where they travelled to face perennial challengers and cup foes Hibernian in Edinburgh. City ran out 3-1 winners in a game that was more competitive than the scoreline suggests. Clare Shine and Megan Foley had the visitors two up with 62 minutes gone but a Colette Cavanagh goal set up for a grandstand finish. With Hibs pressing Jordan McLintock would score on the break away and see them claim another three points as the Hibees 12 year wait for a league victory over the newly crowned champions continues.
In Denmark, Brondby followed up their defeat to City with a surprising 3-2 loss away to VSK Aarhus, they were in fact 3-0 down after just 37 minutes before a Josafine Hasbo double reduced their arrears before half time, however an equaliser wasn’t destined to come. They got back to winning ways in the 3rd Round of the Danish Cup with a 4-0 win away to lower league B93 and then defeated former league leaders FC Nordsjælland 1-0 courtesy of a Louise Winter strike.
Despite that win though they still find themselves in second now behind old foes Fortuna Hjorring.
Who stood out in the first leg
Nicoline Sorenson was by far the Danes biggest threat with her powerful running working both channels as well as acting as the focal point for the attack. She also let rip from long range just minutes after her side went two down with her effort crashing off the bar as her side chased the game.
Experienced international Nanna Christiansen had a relatively quiet match but she perhaps had the best opportunity to score for the home side when she could only push a free header at the back post wide. Whilst Christiansen was relatively subdued in midfield the aforementioned Hasbo appeared to generate the greatest spark as the Danes struggled to break down the City rearguard, and it’s interesting to note that it was she who attempted to drag them back into the game during that defeat to Aarhus.
Goalkeeper Katrine Abel probably stood out for the wrong reasons, as her howler on the hour ensured she had a nervy final 30 minutes and City will be keen to put the pressure on early with that still fresh in the memory.
Scott Booth’s selection
In the interim matches since that victory in Copenhagen Scott Booth has rotated his squad making tweaks as opposed to wholesale changes but the big selection decision come Thursday night is who comes in for the suspended Leanne Crichton, with the midfielder having picked up a second yellow of the campaign in Denmark.
Her destructive midfield play partnered with Sam Kerr’s energetic running and Jo Love’s experience was one of the key elements in helping her side to victory but her coach has a number of options available to him. Scotland U19 international Jenna Clark has stepped into midfield in recent weeks whilst the option is also there to move captain Leanne Ross forward and have Clark or Carly Girasoli fill in at the back.
There is also the option to move Hayley Lauder inside and perhaps switch and shuffle either Rachel McLauchlan or Nicola Docherty further up the park with Megan Foley a more than capable deputy at full back. Whatever his decision it is a near certainty that the UEFA website will have it wrong come full time.
Will they do it?
Brondby are still a dangerous side, an early goal for the visitors could cause nerves but as City showed against Chertanovo in the previous round, they appear to be a totally different proposition at home in this competition. A goal would be massive and with Brondby having to press the game it may come down to whether or not City take their chances when they inevitably come although don’t bet against Scott Booth sending his side out on the front foot early too, a tactic that proved so fruitful against the Russians after an early scare.
Either way we are set for a cracking European night in Glasgow.
Glasgow City (2) v Brondby IF (0), Petershill Park, Kick Off 19:30
Tickets: Adults £12.50 / Concession £6.50.
The game is also live on BBC Alba but really the best way to enjoy nights like this is live and in person so make sure you head on down for what could be an historic night.
Remember you can follow Leading the Line on Twitter, @LeadingtheLine. Here there will be live insight from the games, comments on the breaking stories from the world of women’s football news as well as early sight of what will be coming via the podcast and on the website. It’s right good!