Glasgow City missed out on a place in the last 16 of the Women’s Champions League in the most dramatic of circumstances at Petershill Park.
Despite conceding the first goal, they would have scored the five they needed had captain Leanne Ross not hit the post with a late penalty.
City, with Scotland midfielder Jo Love available again, started the match at a high tempo but just as they were cranking up the pressure, the further they fell behind. Nigerian No 10 Chinwendu Ihezuo found space in the box and slipped the ball past Lee Alexander.
It was a hammer blow for the Scottish champions, who for all their possession were finding it hard to get through a well organised defence and trouble Alexander’s counterpart, Alexandra Grebenyuk. Shots from distance by Katie McCabe and Ross were the closest they came before Abbi Grant equalised two minutes from half-time.
The forward’s low shot looked as if it had been taken comfortably by goalkeeper Grebenyuk, but instead she let it slip through her grasp to give City a lifeline. It could quickly have been two, but captain Ross sent Nicola Docherty’s cross wide of the target.
Ihezeuo nearly made it mission impossible two minutes into the second half, but Alexander saved her shot at the near post. The home side had little option but to push all their players bar the central defenders forward, and it paid off in the 50th minute, when they went ahead.
Again Grant was the scorer, this time taking advantage of Love’s low cross from the left to score first time from close range.
Five minutes later City missed a great chance to grab a third. Grebenyuk punched a cross out but Hayley Lauder sent the ball over the bar from ten yards.
The goal was only delayed a few minutes as the Kazygurt keeper made another bad mistake, failing to gather a free-kick from Ross. This time Noelle Murray made her pay.
The improbable comeback continued when Grant got her third, and City’s fourth. Her angled shot from outside the box was the pick of the bunch.
There were still 27 minutes remaining to get the vital fifth goal – assuming Kazygurt didn’t get a second – and willed on by the home crowd the Scottish champions threw caution to the wind.
Manager Scott Booth, inset, was banished from the technical area by Spanish ref Marta Huerta De Aza as the temperature continued to rise – and City’s big chance appeared to have finally arrived when McCabe was brought down in the box by Darya Kravets.
Ross stepped up to take the kick but, although well struck, it hit Grebenyuk’s right-hand post and rebounded to safety.