GLASGOW City captain Leanne Ross promised her side will leave nothing on the Parc des Princes pitch when they play Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday. The Scottish champions will go into the game two goals down after yesterday’s first leg of their Champions League quarter-final at the Excelsior Stadium.
Scorers: Paris Saint-Germain - Lahmari (18), Hamraoui (52)
Glsgow City were rarely seen as an attacking force, but succeeded in at least keeping the tie alive even if their prospects of causing an upset against one of Europe’s best teams in the second leg are remote.
“We knew they were going to have a lot of the ball and we knew exactly the way they were going to play. We’ve been working on that for a long time now,” Ross said.
“I think we have given a good account of ourselves. We changed some things at half time and came out and did a little better in the second half but, again, there’s plenty we can work on this week.
“There wouldn’t be any point in going over to Paris if we weren’t going to give it a good go. I was in the team when we lost heavily to Potsdam (17-0 on aggregate in the last 16 in 2011) and that was not a nice experience.
“We knew we didn’t want to go out gung-ho today and end up with the same kind of scoreline. We always knew it was going to be a defensive performance. We’ve done okay in that respect even if the goals were disappointing.”
“Let’s be realistic, PSG knocked out Lyon I(the 2011 and 2012 winners) in the last round,” City head coach Eddie Wolecki Black said. “We were 10/1 shots before this tie began and, realistically, there will be another nothing on that now. However, we’ll work hard this week and we’ll go on the premise that anything can happen, because that’s the great thing about football.
“What was disappointing was not going into the interval at 0-0 because I knew we were capable of scoring. Then once it went 2-0 that made it very difficult for us because I wanted to open the game up around the 65-70 minute mark – but you kill the tie completely if you lose a third one.”
City survived three scares between the fifth and tenth minutes but there was a lull before the visitors went ahead in the 18th minute. Laure Boulleau sent a low cut-back from the left into the path of Anissa Lahmari, who scored from ten yards.
City did well not to go further behind in quick time when Lee Alexander, preferred in goal to Megan Cunningham, made a fine save from Marie-Laure Delie.
Wolecki Black’s side, set up in a 4-4-1-1 formation were finding it hard to get any purchase in the game, with only Denise O’Sullivan and new signing Kerry Montgomery taking the game to the French side. City came out for the second half with a much more aggressive attitude, but, before they could build on the confidence that brought, they went two down in the 52nd minute. A training ground move from Kenza Dali’s corner saw the ball dummied before Delie set the ball up for the unmarked Kheira Hamraoui to fire the ball high into the City net.
Wolecki Black took the gamble of sending on three attacking players in a triple substitution midway through the half, but it was Alexander who saved City from going three behind when it seemed as if Delie couldn’t fail to score.
The striker beat the offside trap and ran in unopposed on the City keeper but Alexander timed her smothering save at Delie’s feet to perfection.
The last 15 minutes saw more City attacking play than there had been in the previous 75, but a couple of corners were the best they had to show for their attempts to reduce the deficit.
There was a huge police presence at the game to keep an eye on some 100 PSG ultras whose reputation had obviously preceded them. The French fans, who reportedly have been barred from the Parc des Princes, were escorted from the railway station to the ground by several police vans, with further officers, including mounted police, at the stadium.
Parading banners and segregated from the home supporters on the opposite side of the ground, they started their incessant chanting, including, bizarrely, a hummed version of the Flower of Scotland, throughout the match.
Glasgow City: Alexander; Black, Jones, McCulloch, Docherty; Ross (Fairlie 69), Love, Montgomery (Lappin 69), Lauder (Grant 69); O’Sullivan; Brown.
PSG: Kiedrzynek; Houara, Georges, Delannoy, Boulleau; Hamraoui; Asllani (Bresonik 89), Kaci; Dali (Seger 90), Delie, Lahmari (Krahn 83).
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