A night of astonishing drama at Petershill Park ended with goalkeeper Lee Alexander saving three Brondby penalties in the shootout which decided the last 16 tie. It capped a fine personal performance and also one by her side, who were outplayed in the opening 45 minutes but ended the game far the stronger.
Jo Love scored the winning penalty to make it three out of four for her side and a margin of 3-1 in front of a sell-out attendance of 800 at the small Glasgow ground. City will go into the quarter-final draw a week today for the second time in their history.
The opening five minutes were dramatic and set the tone for a fiercely contested tie. The evening might have taken a very different course had City scored with less than 120 seconds on the clock. Hayley Lauder delivered a low cross from the right but the inrushing Megan Foley couldn’t quite get the touch which would have opened the scoring.
Instead it was Brondby who almost took the lead – and then did. The first effort, in the fourth minute was by Linnea Svensson and Lee Alexander had to be at her best to block the shot with her legs.
But the early goal came only 60 seconds later. Emillie Henrikson sent over a perfectly judged cross from the right which was met at the far post by Brondby’s best player, Nanna Christiansen. Her header went across Alexander and into the other corner.
The Danes dominated possession for the rest of the half with City not finding the same space to counter-attack as they had done so effectively on the much bigger pitch at Brondby Stadium. They would have doubled their lead midway through the half, but Scotland keeper Alexander made another fine save, this time from Nicoline Sorensen’s closer range volley.
City’s best chance came after 34 minutes when Clare Shine cut the ball back into the path of Sam Kerr, but the midfielder’s attempt was blocked.Brondby scored again when a one-two on the edge of the home penalty box set up Frederikke Lindhardt, and she squeezed a shot across Alexander to level the tie on aggregate.
A long-range shot by Rachel McLauchlan gave City some encouragement at the start of the second half, but Alexander again came to her side’s rescue with another important stop, again from Sorensen.
Brondby missed an even better chance to take the lead in the tie for the first time following an error by McLauchlan. It gave Lindhardt possession with only Alexander to beat, but yet again the goalkeeper proved up to it, sticking out a leg to stop the goalbound shot.
With less than 20 minutes remaining but Shine was foiled by Brondby goalkeeper Katrine Abel after being set up by Nic Docherty and Lauder.
However, the Danes should have sealed their place in the quarter-finals five minutes from the end. Sorensen was again through on Alexander and again the goalkeeper’s reactions saved her side.
Brondby survived a strong penalty claim when Foley’s shot was blocked by an arm in the box, leaving the game to go into extra time and Glasgow were very unlucky not to score when a Leanne Ross free-kick was headed against the underside of the bar by Clark.
With the tie settled by penalties, Alexander was again outstanding and Love scored the one that clinched victory.