Despite taking a two-goal advantage into tonight’s Champions League match against Somatio Barcelona of Cyprus, Glasgow City know they’ll need to put in another good performance to reach the last 16.
Head Coach, Scott Booth, said: “We’ve put ourselves in a good position. But it’s no more than a good position and it doesn’t win you the game on Thursday night. We know that and we know the job we have to do. It’s going to be tough but I’m confident, if the players play like they did in the first leg, we’ll make it very, very difficult for Somatio.”
“They’re a very good side and if you look at the 0-2, from the outside, you’d probably think we’re going to take care of business at home. If it was the other way around, we’d still fancy our chances to go and get through. I see the opposition thinking the same and nothing can be taken for granted. We know how threatening this team can be and we’ll be under no illusions that’ll be nothing but a very tough European match.”
Speaking about the performance in the first-leg, Hayley Lauder, who played for Apollon Limassol in 2011, said: “It was a massive performance (in Cyprus). The pitch was huge, it was 32 degrees, and there were a lot of challenging aspects in the game that we dealt with extremely well. To get that two-goal cushion, I’m really proud of the squad.”
“The performance from the team over there was outstanding” added Scotland International, Leanne Crichton. “From every player that was on the pitch and the whole squad, the atmosphere we created knowing how difficult it was going to be against a very tough side. Everyone was 100% on the day.”
Glasgow City suffered heartache at this stage last year. They were 3-0 down after the first-leg but were knocked out by Kazakhstan’s BIIK Kazygurt on away goals, despite winning 4-1 at Petershill.
“We know that away goals can be huge” said Crichton. “We were on the receiving end of a defeat to away goals last year and that was what put us out of the competition. We know going over to Cyprus, we had a job to do and the key was to get an away goal. Luckily, we got two and that’s a fantastic cushion.”
Lauder added: “They’ve got a lot of threats that we’ll look to nullify and also impose our game plan on to them. Last year showed that we got beat 3-0 away from home and we almost came back. That shows that in the Champions League, anything is possible. We’ve prepared very well and we’ve put ourselves in a really good position.”
Glasgow City haven’t reached the last 16 of the UEFA Women’s Champions League since 2014/15 when they eventually reached the Quarter-Finals. After a tough group in the Qualifying Round, it would be a massive boost for the Scottish game as well.
“They (the players) have put in so much work and the season is getting close to that point where every single game means so much” said Booth. “The players know there is so much riding on this game on Thursday but ultimately, they want to do it for themselves, for their teammates, for their families, and make people proud that they’ve done something special in the Champions League.”
Lauder added: “It would be absolutely massive for the club (to reach the last 16). It’s something we’ve not managed to do for a few years now. To compete with the best in Europe and reach the last 16, for Glagow City and the Scottish game would be massive.”
“At Glasgow City, we’re always pushing against the odds” said Crichton. “We always seem to have a little bit less than others, especially in the European stage. We’re often the underdogs going into competitions, especially at this level when you get out of the group stage.
“It has been three years since we managed to get to the last 16. For us, it’s our number one task this week and I’ve got absolute belief in myself and the team that we can go and get that job done.”
On top of their Champions League campaign, Scott Booth’s side are still battling for the league title and are in the last four of the Scottish Women’s Cup. In both competitions, they’ll battle Hibernian, who have been their biggest domestic challengers over the last few years.
When asked if City could achieve success on all fronts, Booth said: “It’s a big ask. The games are thick and fast. They all mean so much. If you ask players what kind of games they want to play in, it these sorts of games. If you ask players if they’d rather play games or train, they’d rather play games. It’s all set up for them. Hopefully they can take on those pressures and I’ve no doubt that the squad is ready for it. I hope they can do themselves justice because they’ve played some really good football this season.”
Limited tickets for Thursday’s game will be available on the gate, priced at £10 for adults and £5 for U16’s. The game will also be broadcast live on BBC ALBA.
Further information can be found on the Glasgow City website (http://www.glasgowcityfc.co.uk/latest/) and via their social media channels.