Article by Graham Semple
Paris Saint-Germain produced an excellent display to defeat Glasgow City 2-0 in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final this afternoon.
A goal in each half from Anissa Lahmari and Kheira Hamraoui gave the expensively-assembled professional French team a comfortable winning margin in front of 1,785 spectators - a record crowd for a women’s club match in Scotland.
PSG had arrived at the Excelsior Stadium in pursuit of goals and they dominated from the outset. The visitors were fluid and slick in possession and there was intent and purpose in their high-tempo play. City were forced to retreat as the side from the French capital flooded players forward in search of an early breakthrough.
Marie-Laure Delie, Kenza Dali and Kosovare Asllani all had early attempts which failed to significantly trouble Lee Alexander in the City goal as the well-disciplined and organised Glasgow side held firm, however this was to change in the nineteenth minute.
PSG were happy to stroke the ball around with control and patience in the middle of the park but in the final third they came alive with quick and incisive one and two-touch play. An excellent team move finished off by Lahmari gave Les Parisiennes the early advantage and a much-coveted away goal - to the delight of their small but vociferous travelling support.
In the aftermath of the goal, City came under sustained pressure and Alexander was forced into an excellent stop to deny Delie. Moments later, PSG captain, Sabrina Delannoy, had a glorious chance after a corner was not properly cleared, but she blazed over and the home side survived.
Fiona Brown, who played as a lone forward, had City’s first meaningful attempt after 22 minutes however her shot from the edge of the box went straight at Katarzyna Kiedrzynek in the PSG goal.
The French side continued to control the game but the remainder of the first half slipped by without any further incident and at the interval the teams were separated by Lahmari’s solitary strike.
Eight minutes into the second period PSG strengthened their position with a second goal straight from the training ground. A corner drilled in low from Dali was dummied by two French players and this left Hamraoui space and time to fire an unstoppable shot past the sprawling Alexander. The player of the match had been a star performer for Rouge et Bleu and this quality strike typified her commanding performance.
PSG continued to dominate territorially but strong City defending ensured no more damage was done to the scoreline. For almost the entire match it had been one-way traffic towards Alexander’s goal, but the Scottish champions held a good line, blocked shots and did well to limit their star-studded opponents to just a few clear goalscoring opportunities.
On the one occasion the French side got beyond the City defence, Alexander dived bravely at the feet of Delie to pull off a magnificent save.
The second leg will take place on Saturday at the Parc des Princes with a 6pm kick-off. The match will be screened live on BBC Alba.
Glasgow City: Alexander, Lauder (Lappin 69), Jones, Love, O’Sullivan, Montgomery (Fairlie 69), Docherty, McCulloch, Black, Ross (c) (Grant, 69), Brown
Subs: Cunningham, McMurchie, Rafferty
PSG: Kiedrzynek, Dali (Seger 90+2), Boulleau, Georges, Delannoy (c), Asllani (Bresonik 88), Houara, Hamraoui, Kaci, Delie, Lahmari (Krahn 82)
Subs: Benameur, Alushi, Morroni, Geyoro
Referee: Riem Hussien (Germany)