Glasgow City produced one of their best Champions League performances to beat a Brondby side which, superficially at least, seemed to hold all the advantages going into this Champions League last-16 tie in Copenhagen. The prospect of a second quarter-final appearance now looms when the sides meet in the second leg at Petershill Park on 31 October.
Although much of the luck on the night went City’s way, head coach Scott Booth was correctly delighted at the application of his players against the seeded side. A goal within a minute from midfielder Sam Kerr and a bad error from the home goalkeeper ensured the victory.
“I thought we were really different class and a constant threat on the break,” Booth said. “All in all, the game plan worked really well and the players executed it really well.
“Every single one of them put in a lot of work and effort. They defended well and put in blocking tackles, which made it difficult for Brondby to get a clear shot at goal.
“We know it’s a job only half done, and, if we can go out and score within a minute, I’m sure they can as well. We have to make sure that doesn’t happen. We have a lot of experience in the side and it does help in these situations. It would be really nice to get through the quarter-finals from this position.”
It took City just 27 seconds to take the lead and score an invaluable away goal at a very wet Brondby Stadium. The home side gave away possession cheaply and Rachel McLauchlan took full advantage.
The right-back took the ball past Caroline Pleidrup before delivering a cut-back into the box, allowing midfielder Kerr to score with a deflected shot.
The advantage, however, should have been wiped out in the fourth minute, but Josefine Hasbo fired the ball over the crossbar from 12 yards.
The Danes, who had scored seven goals in each of their last three league games, had most of the possession in the first half, yet rarely tested Scotland keeper Lee Alexander.
Brondby’s top player, midfielder Nanna Christiansen, also came close with a downward header just after the half-hour – but both Kerr and Kirsty Howat, the latter beautifully set up by Hayley Lauder, also caused the home side problems on the break.
Brondby took off a defender and replaced her with another striker at the start of the second half, but it was a City player who nearly provided an equaliser. Fortunately for central defender Eilish McSorley, her sliced attempted clearance hit the bar above Alexander.
An own goal then did arrive – but it was for the visitors. City skipper Leanne Ross scores a lot of goals from free kicks, but her effort just before the hour was never going to find the net until home keeper Katrine Abel inexplicably palmed the ball in.
Christiansen, with a shot which again rattled the woodwork, nearly got a quick goal back for Brondby, but the Danes struggled to regain their composure on a night when they fell victim to a very Scottish mugging.