Deputy Sports Editor
Glasgow City have become the first ever Scottish side to reach the Quarter Finals of the Women’s Champions League.
They will face French giants Paris Saint-Germain. To synchronise with the men’s competition, City will not play their Quarter Final until March.
Two late strikes, against FC Zurich of Switzerland, secured a 5-4 aggregate win in the last 16. It was another feather in the cap of a glittering campaign.
Eddie Wolecki Black’s women claimed their 8th successive league title and, in May, took home the Premier League Cup. The team’s Scottish Cup run culminated in a 5-0 final victory against Spartans – City netted 29 times in the cup, without reply, to capture a third straight domestic treble.
One of those behind the stellar defensive record is Northern Ireland international Julie Nelson, who signed from Everton a season and a half ago. Speaking before the cup final, she says: “It’s been a good season so far and we want to finish it off by winning the Scottish Cup which would make it three trebles on the bounce for the club; an amazing achievement.”
Nelson explains why this season’s success has been no fluke. “We have a really good team spirit in the team and nobody likes to lose,” she says. “We train four nights a week and have a game every Sunday. Most of the girls do their own gym work too so we have a hard-working bunch.”
In contrast to the domestic scene, City have found European progress far from straightforward. Qualifying wins against Nove Zamky, Glentoran and FC Zhilstroy saw the team faced with Polish outfit Medyk Konin. They went into the second leg 2-0 down. Nelson reflects, “We didn’t play to our potential out there so we knew, coming home, that we’d have to score three to win the game. We hadn’t scored by half time but everybody was calm. We got two, and scored quite early in extra time. That was the longest 25 minutes of my life!”
The last 16 tie against FC Zurich proved to be even more dramatic. City fell to a narrow 2-1 away loss, in which Nelson picked up a yellow card which ruled her out of the home clash. She says, “It was quite nerve-wrecking; it was actually more nerve-wrecking watching than it was playing.” The Swiss went 4-3 ahead on aggregate with 23 minutes remaining – the away goal rule meant that City had to score twice. Nelson continues, “We never gave up. Thankfully we found the strength from somewhere and got the two goals. They were two great goals in the last seven or eight minutes to win the tie.”