by Graham Semple
Glasgow City began their Champions League Qualification Group 4 campaign with an emphatic 5-0 win over FC Union Nove Zamky from Slovakia at the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie.
The match began tentatively with both sides endeavouring to gain the upper hand, and then the contest burst into life in the ninth minute. A nicely weighted through ball by Denise O’Sullivan was met by the onrushing Leanne Ross, but her curling effort was acrobatically tipped round the post by Flore Ngo Ndom in the Union Novy Zamky goal.
The pressure was building on the Slovakian double winners and the opening goal arrived after 26 minutes. An outswinging corner from Ross found the unmarked Suzanne Lappin whose well-directed header was parried by the goalkeeper, but only into the path of Cheryl McCulloch who stroked the ball home to give City a deserved lead.
Nove Zamky were vulnerable at set-plays and crosses and they struggled to deal with the aerial presence posed by City. It was a corner again that enabled the Scottish champions to double their advantage. This time it was Eilish McSorley who was left unattended in the box to head home from close range - two goals in as many minutes.
The qualification favourites did not have to wait long for the decisive third goal. After good work from Fiona Brown, a clever shot from Lappin found its way into the far corner of the net to ensure a comfortable half-time advantage.
Ross was first to have an attempt in the second half but her drilled effort from the edge of the box was easily dealt with by Flore Ngo Ndom. Brown was next to try her luck, but her rasping shot flew just over as City threatened to add to their lead.
The goal of the game came after 62 minutes. A delightful slide-rule pass by Ross carved open the Slovak back line and the move was concluded by O’Sullivan who confidently swept home: 4-0. The lively Irish forward had been heavily involved in the action and she thoroughly deserved to be on the scoresheet.
City pressed for a fifth goal to add further gloss to an already impressive display and it duly arrived in stoppage time direct from a 25 yard free-kick. McSorley, who so often threatens from distance, found the bottom corner to grab her second of the match and wrap up a good evening’s work.
City played some excellent football and it was only an inspired performance by Flore Ngo Ndom in the Union Novy Zamky goal that prevented the scoreline from being even more one-sided. With only the group winners guaranteed progression into the knockout stages, there is little margin for error, so City will be delighted to have bagged all three points so convincingly.
Glasgow City will now play Glentoran from Northern Ireland in the next match on Monday evening at 7.45 at the same venue. The Irish side lost their first match 5-0 to FC Zhilstroy-1 of Ukraine.
Commenting on the game, City head coach, Eddie Wolecki Black said:
"It's a good start to the campaign. We controlled the game and looked dangerous in attack. It was no surprise we scored from 3 set plays as we do a lot of work on them. Of course we have to play again on Monday evening and I hope we can perform to the same level and set-up a final game day winner takes all clash".
Glasgow City: Alexander, McSorley, Love, O’Sullivan, Lappin (Crichton 46), Docherty, McCulloch, Black, Ross (Hay 72) (C), Brown, Grant (Fairlie 62)
Subs Not Used: McMurchie, Whyte, Nelson, Deiter (GK)
Union Novy Zamky: Flore Ngo Ndom, Bfenkova, Deszatova, Horvathova, Mokabane Tshepiso, Laurincova, Szalaiova (Posova 83), Rybanska (Zachorecova 77), Mihalikova, Palencikova, Orgi Gold (Soborova 90)
Subs Not Used: Fabian
Referee: Florence Guillemin (France)