2018/19 #UWCL Preview: Glasgow City look to go again

(Catherine Etoe)

Glasgow City look to go again in the UEFA Women’s Champions League today (Friday) after losing 2-1 to competition debutants RSC Anderlecht at Oriam in Edinburgh on Tuesday, reports Catherine Etoe.

Injured City star Hayley Lauder with SNWT strength and conditioning lead James Lowry and assistant Liam Mitchell, all smiles before tthe game. (C Etoe)

The Scottish champions were clearly disappointed after allowing their early dominance over the Belgian side slip in the opening match of Group 3, played out on a picturesque pitch banked by towering pines and Scotland’s immense national performance centre building. However, head coach Scott Booth vowed to get his team back on track ahead of their next match against FC Martve of Georgia on Friday and the final game on Monday against Gornik Leczna of Poland.

“The first thing we need to do is pick the players up,” he said. “We need to talk about the things we didn’t produce on the day and make sure they understand there are still two games to go and anything can happen in football, we’ve seen it before, they have to go about their business and be professional and make sure we get six points out of the two games, that at this stage is the most important thing.”

Having reached the quarter finals previously, City’s players and fans know how important this competition is to a club that has been crowned Scottish Premier League champions for 11 years on the trot. “It’s another level and it’s part of the life blood of Glasgow City,” supporter Catriona Tucker told She Kicks.

Dedicated City fans Henry and Catriona Tucker. (C Etoe)

With three Champions League games in less than a week, those top level matches come thick and fast for City. Indeed, the Glasgow side, who are hosting the four-team group, had barely recovered from a testing 2-0 win over league rivals Celtic when they headed out to face Anderlecht. Booth said, however, that while the timing was far from ideal, his team had not kept to their game plan against their physical opponents.

“Two days is not long enough to recover from a fairly tough league game, but it’s not an excuse,” he said. “I feel like we had periods where we didn’t pass the ball well enough, we didn’t in the final third get at them enough to test the goalkeeper. Our passing was poor at times. A lot of things that we said we needed to work on to make sure we put them right for the game didn’t come into practice and I think the players will be disappointed.

“Don’t take anything away from Anderlecht, they are a good side, they’ve got some good players, some internationalists in there, they’re physical, always cause you problems and they’re quite simple in the way they play but they have got a threat.”

City had looked capable of dealing with that threat with a bright start, but they were rocked when 24-year-old striker Ella Van Kerkhoven headed home on 24 minutes before veteran skipper Leanne Ross, the club’s top scorer in this competition with 14 goals, missed a penalty moments later. Midfielder Elke Van Gorp secured the three points for Anderlecht 10 minutes from time, although City gave their supporters something to cheer when new signing Lara Ivanusa pounced to score her first goal for the club after keeper Justien Odeurs had parried Kirsty Howat’s shot.

Anderlecht goal scorers Ella Van Kerkhoven and Elke Van Gorp (C Etoe)
Megan Foley. (C Etoe)

“I think we dealt with the ball in the air quite good at times, but trying to get the ball up the park we weren’t clinical enough getting it into the corners,” said midfielder Megan Foley. “But getting the goal in the end gave us a wee bit of focus to go on for the next two games.”

City now face an FC Martve side that need to bounce back from their own opening defeat, that one a 12-0 trouncing at the hands of Gornik Leczna at Ainslie Park. The result left Booth’s team sitting in third place in Group 3, but versatile former Rangers player Foley says City will be determined to turn their fortunes around.

“It might have been a defeat for the first one,” said the 25-year-old, “but we go and win the next two and get a good couple of goals and that’ll take us through.”

Anderlecht celebrate. (C Etoe)

Kick off on Friday is at 12.30pm at Oriam, Heriot Watt, EH14 4AS, Edinburgh and entry is free.