|Glasgow City reached the Round of 32 for the UEFA Women’s Champions League for the 10th consecutive season after a penalty shoot out victory over Valur in Reykjavik. Leanne Crichton had given City the lead with a close range finish before the Icelandic side fought back through Mist Edvardsdottir. For the second time in as many weeks, City went to penalties to progress.
The opening stages saw City control most of possession but it was the hosts with the first shot of the game as Hlin Eiriksdottir got a strike away on the edge of the box that was deflected away for a corner which City dealt with. City had appeals for a penalty waved away after Lauder was brought down before Howat had a half volley that whistled just wide of Sandra Sigurdardottir’s right hand post. Nicole Robertson also went close for City with a header at the back post as she connected to Zaneta Wyne’s cross but the ball couldn’t find the back of the Valur net. The home side applied their own pressure through a succession of corners but City stood firm. City continued to create opportunities as the sun began to set with Jo Love firing over the bar and Aoife Colvill having an effort saved by the keeper. Valur’s best chance of the opening 45 minutes was through Gunnhildur Jonsdottir when she led a counter attack after the hosts dealt with a City free kick but her effort in the end failed to trouble Lee Alexander.
The home side started the second half brightly but with their first attack of the second half, City would strike. Robertson was bundled over on the near touchline midway inside the Valur half and a brilliant delivery from Lauder’s left boot caused chaos in the Icelandic penalty area with Jenna Clark heading the ball down into the path of Crichton to smash the ball into the roof of the net. Valur reacted and looked for a quick response but failed to trouble Alexander. G. Jonsdottir had an effort just after the hour mark that flashed past the left hand post. The home side continued to search for an equaliser but the assistant’s flag ended up being raised multiple times as the City backline kept their shape while having a penalty appeal themselves when Crichton’s shot was charged down but the referee decided it was not blocked by a hand. A moment of controversy after Alexander was taken out and left on the floor when clearing the ball, Valur played on and Love was required to clear the ball off the line for a corner. From the resulting corner Edvardsdottir bundled the ball over the line to equalise for the hosts to send the game into extra time.
Valur had the first chance of extra time but Alexander was strong at her front post and saved with her foot. Alexander was once again required when Elin Jensen was played through and tried to round the City keeper but Alexander got down and denied the Valur striker. Neither side were able to break the deadlock in the second period of extra time and for the second time this season in the Champions League, City went to penalties. Crichton was first up for City and found the back of the net before G.Jonsdottir failed to hit the target. Mairead Fulton was next up and scored but the referee brought it back and her second penalty was saved before Hallbera Gisladottir missed. Jo Love saw her penalty saved before Jensen equalised to make one a piece after three penalties. Everyone started scoring in the shoot out from this point with Lauren Wade, Clare Shine and Zaneta Wyne all hitting the back of the net while Valur’s Eiriksdottir and Asdis Halldorsdottir scored. The decisive penalty was Arna Eiriksdottir who dragged it wide of Alexander’s post to secure City a place in the last 32.
Commenting, City Head Scott Booth said: "I am so proud of this group of players. Valur are an excellent side with real quality and I thought in the first half we were particularly good and despite conditions deteriorating as the game wore on, we kept going right till the end of extra time. Once again my team stepped up when it mattered and we got through on penalties. They deserve to be in the last 32 and we welcome whoever we get in the Round of 32".
City are back in domestic action on Sunday as they welcome Hearts to Broadwood Stadium.