Glasgow City suffer first leg defeat

Glasgow City were left to rue a sloppy first half performance as they slipped to Champions League defeat last night.

Despite dominating for large parts of the game, City lost 2-1 to Danish outfit Fortuna Hjørring in front of a full house at Petershill Park.

Powerful striker Nadia Nadim bagged a first half brace for the visitors before Jane Ross gave City a lifeline with a magnificent strike late on.

The Scottish champions travel to Denmark for the second leg of the UEFA Women’s Champions League tie next week and Coach Eddie Wolecki Black remains upbeat about his side’s chances of making the last 16 of the competition.

Wolecki Black said: “There’s no doubt about it, the first half certainly cost us. To go one behind after two minutes isn’t what you plan for. It’s a poor goal from our point of view and we’re really disappointed in that.

“Everybody knows we’re capable of scoring goals. It’s whether we’re capable of going over there and scoring goals and making sure we don’t lose silly ones, that’s the big question. It’s a tough challenge for us but we’ll certainly relish it.”

The famous Champions League theme tune had not long finished when Fortuna opened the scoring inside the first few minutes. Nigerian international striker Chi-Chi Igbo found space on the right before providing a pinpoint cross for Nadim. The clinical forward made no mistake with the finish and calmly volleyed the ball home from six yards out.

City were soon forced to make an early substitution and Ruesha Littlejohn replaced the injured Christie Murray. The goal appeared to wake the hosts up, however, and City began to control possession. The electric pace of Jane Ross and Emma Mitchell in the wide areas started to cause the opposition back four problems and an equaliser looked inevitable.

However, the goal never arrived and Fortuna took full advantage by increasing their lead against the run of play. Just after the half hour mark Fortuna midfielder Tiffany Weimer dinked the ball over the home defence and into the path of Nadim who took one touch before striking the ball towards goal. City keeper Claire Johnstone got a strong hand to the shot but it was not enough to stop the ball trundling over the line.

Rocked by the second goal, City could have been 3-0 down with a mountain to climb before half-time had it not been for the heroics of keeper Johnstone. Minutes from the break Igbo latched onto a slack back-pass and rounded Johnstone before being pulled down by Eilish McSorley inside the City box. The referee rightfully pointed to the spot but only brandished a yellow card to the fortunate McSorley. Nadim stepped up to take the spot-kick but was denied her hat-trick by a brilliant save from the impressive Johnstone.

The home side controlled the majority of the second half but were again restricted to a number of long range efforts. The best move of the match culminated in a terrific curling effort from Joanne Love that was tipped quite fortuitously onto the post by Fortuna keeper Maria Christensen.

Christensen was in action ten minutes later when she somehow got enough fingertips on the ball to tip over a rasping free-kick from the left foot of Emma Mitchell.

As the clock ticked down City piled on the pressure and were rewarded with a goal of the highest quality. Picking the ball up on the right wing, Jane Ross cut in at pace and unleashed an unstoppable left foot drive into the far top corner of the net. It was her 150th goal for the club and it handed Glasgow City a well needed and fully deserved Champions League lifeline.

The hosts pressed hard for an equaliser but ran out of time and Fortuna held on for the win. City boss Wolecki Black was quick to remind the opposition that European ties are played over 180 minutes, however, and there is still all to play for in next week’s return leg in Denmark.

Glasgow City: Johnstone, McSorley, Love, Murray (Littlejohn, 10), Crichton, Mitchell, J. Ross, Docherty, Corsie [C], Fernon, L.Ross (Dalziel, 88). Subs not used: Alexander, Pagliarulo, Melrose, McDonald, Barnes.

Fortuna Hjørring: Christensen, M. Jensen, J.A. Jensen [C], S.J. Pedersen, Mogensen, Woods, Sigvardsen-Jensen, Weimar, Nadim (Rask, 79), Igbo (Larsen, 57), Smidt-Hansen (K. Pedersen, 60). Subs not used: T.Jensen, Molgaard, Kristensen, Hovesen.

Match report by Curtiss Wilson

Top pictures by Andy Buist
Bottom picture of Jane Ross celebrating by Graeme Berry