Featured Image: Tommy Hughes – Taken from the first leg
Glasgow City were knocked out of the UEFA Women’s Champions League by Damallsvensken side Eskilstuna United after losing the second leg 2-1 and 3-1 on aggregrate. Here is our analysis of the second leg.
Importance of the Away Goal
This was something that both managers talked about after the game. After winning the first leg 1-0, Eskilstuna knew that if they scored one goal they would have a huge advantage.
And they seemed to set out with the intention of scoring early on, and they took the lead through Olivia Schough in the seventh minute. That meant City had to score three goals to win and whilst they dealt with the first away goal, the second away goal in the second half seemed to knock the wind out of City’s sails. If City had not conceded that second goal, it was 50:50 on either side progressing with City playing good football.
As this article will do, statistics are wonderful things at trying to explain why a team won a game or not. But, it is only the score that matters.
But it was Glasgow City who had the better game in terms of having more shots despite having less possession than their opponents. But the problem was that City had less shots on target. Eskilstuna took the chances.
A key moment in the game came in the 37th minute when City’s Clare Shine missed a glorious chance. If she had scored, it would have changed the course of the game. However, it would be wrong to highlight this as a critical moment. City had enough chances to win on the night.
Shooting From Distance
Many of Glasgow City’s best chances came from long distance, although that is not to say that is a bad thing. Erin Cuthbert had a couple of long-range chances that seemed destined for the back of the net, but just went wide.
But they failed to work the ball enough into the box and into areas where they were more likely to test the goalkeeper.
The frustrating thing about the game was that Glasgow City were not outplayed. Fiona Brown and Erin Cuthbert in particular forced Eskilstuna’s defence problems with their runs. However, Eskilstuna’s defence were able to force these attacking players out wide – making them work for their chances.
City deployed a 4-3-3 formation enabled them to get players forward, but it left them vunerable in the centre of midfield and they were never able to grab a control of the game.
Eskilstuna’s Front Two
The front two of Eskilstuna were perhaps the difference between the sides. Olivia Schough and Mimmi Larsson scored the Swedish side’s three goals over the two legs, and their movement and pace caused City problems all game.
Schough and Larsson were both happy to play out wide at times, and pressed City’s defence into mistakes. It meant that a long ball from Eskilstuna’s defence turned into attack.
This was how both their goals came about. City failing to deal with a long ball up to the front two and not being able to make the vital tackle and clearance. It allowed Eskilstuna to have a second wave of attack and score.
There is an issue for Scottish Women’s Football that has been highlighted in this year’s Champions League. The SWPL is not yet strong enough to give competitive games week in, week out for City.
The Damallsvensken on the other hand provides Eskilstuna United with tough opposition. This is something that will improve over time but will make things difficult for both Glasgow City and Hibernian to challenge in the competition against the very best sides.
But, as said already, there was not much between the sides over the two legs.
What has to be praised though is how Glasgow City played. Despite the uphill task in the second half, City never gave up looking for a way back into the tie and fought until the final whistle. That is something that has to be praised.