By Craig Edwards
When Glasgow City kick off at the Anoeta Stadium in San Sebastian, it will be 371 days since our name was pulled out the bowl at the Round of 32 draw in Nyon. A lot has changed since then with subsequent trips to Russia and Denmark bringing us to where we are now with Spain the destination for the conclusion of the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
ROUND OF 32
City were a seeded team for the Round of 32 draw and would face European debutants in Chertanovo Moscow. The Russian side finished second in the 2018 Russian Championship to secure a spot in the UWCL for the first time and City faced a long trip to start their campaign.
The side arrived in the Russian capital following a 4-0 victory over Rangers on the previous Sunday and in hot conditions, got a dream start after 11 minutes. Clare Shine keeping the ball alive and laying it off to Hayley Lauder who found the top corner and give City an early lead.
The sublime finish would give City a narrow lead to take back to Petershill Park.
The second leg got off to the worst possible start for City as Kristina Komissarova struck early on for the Russian side to level the tie on aggregate.
City responded well with Lauder netting her second against the Russian side to reclaim the lead and Shine struck after the visitors failed to deal with a City corner to give us the lead on the night and a two goal cushion on aggregate.
Two more goals in the second half, a screamer from Rachel McLauchlan and a third over the two games for Lauder secured City victory and passage to the Round of 16 for the second successive season.
ROUND OF 16
City were the first team drawn in the Round of 16 and were paired with Danish champions Brondby. The first leg took place in Copenhagen and City got off to the dream start with less than 40 seconds on the clock when Sam Kerr’s strike was deflected over the Brondby goalkeeper by Emilie Henriksen.
The Brondby Stadion would see a second goal in the tie and a second for City when on the hour mark, Leanne Ross floated a free kick into the penalty area and Katrine Abel failed to deal with the ball, inadvertently punching it into the back of her own net to secure City a two goal lead to take back to Petershill Park.
The second leg would turn out to be one of the most dramatic nights in City’s history. Holding the two goal lead, Brondby pulled one back early on through Nanna Christiansen before the Danish side levelled the match on aggregate shortly before half time with Frederikke Lindhardt scoring.
City grew into the game in the second half, helped by some terrific saves from Lee Alexander and with neither side able to find the back of the net, the match went into extra time.
City arguably had the better of the extra 30 minutes with some last ditch defending from the Danish side denying Kerr after Jenna Clark has headed the ball off the crossbar but a place in the quarter finals of the Champions League would be decided by a penalty shoot out.
The captain Leanne Ross stepped up and gave City the lead in the shoot out before Christiansen scored for Brondby. It would be the only penalty the Danes would score as Alexander would present a penalty saving masterclass at Petershill Park.
Eilish McSorley netted her penalty before Jo Love, who played a major part in the Zurich victory five years ago, put her penalty into the top corner to send City through to a second quarter final.
Our quarter final opponents Wolfsburg have reached the Last eight for the eighth consecutive season.
They beat Kosovo side Mitrovica 15-0 on aggregate, including a 10-0 victory away in Pristina before knocking out FC Twente 7-0 on aggregate.
You can watch Glasgow City v VfL Wolfsburg live on BBC ALBA on Friday while we will have GCFC radio commentary live. Our media team will also be out in San Sebastian with previews and reaction.
You can donate a match ticket here