My personal blog on Scottish Women's Football
Today, Glasgow City will make history by playing in the Champions League Quarter-Final for the first time ever – taking on Paris Saint-Germain Féminine. Paris have a strong advantage as they are in the middle of their season as well as being a professional club – allowing them to arrive on a private jet, compared to Glasgow City who are an amateur side – but City will go into the tie with confidence.
This blog examines their runs.
Paris have finished runners-up in France’s top tier Division 1 Féminine on three occasions, and when UEFA changed the rules to allow the top eight nations to have two clubs qualify for the 2011-12 season – Paris qualified for the Champions League for the first time ever. Before this current campaign, the 2011-12 campaign was their best as they were knocked out of the the Round of 16 by eventual runners-up Frankfurt.
Their most recent silverware came in 2010, where they won the Coupe de France Féminine.
Despite sitting top of the table this season, Paris’ have their chances of domestic silverware diminished by the seeming invincibility of Lyon who have won 18 out of 18 league games – sitting two points behind Paris, but with two games in hand. Having lost twice to Lyon in the league, it does seem the title is in their hands. There is an interesting quirk in the French top league where they have a different system in awarding points: Four for a win, two for a draw and one for a defeat. Swede striker Kosovre Asllani and French forward Marie-Laure Delie have each scored 13 goals in the league, and they will be just two players City will have to be weary of.
Having been knocked out of the Coupe de France Féminine by Guigamp on penalties in the Last 16, the Champions League is possibly their best chance to lift a trophy. Due to France’s coefficient, they entered the competition in the Round of 32, where they beat Twente 3-1 over the two legs.
They were drawn against Lyon in the Round of 16, giving them a challenging tie. The first leg was played at Paris, and Lyon went 1-0 up with a goal from Corine Franco. Fatmire Alushi equalised as they drew the game 1-1, before travelling to Lyon for the second leg, where Alushi’s winner meant they won the tie 2-1 on aggregate. The second leg is the only game this season Lyon have lost.
Glasgow City have only just started their current league season, but they began in style, winning their opening game 5-0 against Hutchinson Vale. To prepare for the Champions League tie against Paris, they arranged four friendlies against English sides. They drew 1-1 with Sunderland, lost 3-2 to Manchester City, lost 2-0 to Chelsea but beat Durham 2-0.
Glasgow City’s first Champions League campaign came in the 2005-06 season, but they lost all of their First Qualifying Round Group games, and exited the competition.
In the 2011-12 campaign, Glasgow City were named as First Seeds in the Qualifying Group Stage, making progress easier. They won all three group games to progress to Knockout Stages for the first ime. Glasgow were knocked out in the Round of 16 to 2009-10 winners Potsdam 17-0. The 10-0 defeat in the first leg remains Glasgow City’s record defeat.
But it during this Champions League campaign (2014-15) that City have hit the national headlines with aplomb. The entered the Qualifying Group stage which they progressed through with ease. City defeated Glentoran 1-0, Kharkiv 4-0 and Nové Zánky 5-0. However, both knockout rounds have been nervous. They were drawn against Polish side Medyk Konin in the Round of 32 – but they lost the away leg 2-0. They won the home leg 2-0 at full time to send the tie into extra-time where Denise O’Sullivan’s extra-time strike sent them through.
The Round of 16 saw them play Zürich. They once again lost the away tie, this time 2-1. The home leg was tricky with Zürich getting two away goals, meaning Glasgow had to win the tie out-right. Joanne Love equallised on aggregate in the 81st minute before Suzanne Lappin scored the winner.
I will be attending the match at the Excelsior Stadium, and hoping my first women’s footbal match will end with a City win 🙂