Report by Stephen Bark
Glasgow City’s comeback queens gave it their all but ultimately couldn’t find a decisive fifth goal that would have sent them through to the round of 16. Trailing 3-0 from the first leg in Kazakhstan, the home side knew it was going to be a tough task.
City started the game well and Jo Love saw the first effort of the game go well over the bar after a slick passing move. Hayley Lauder then hit the crossbar with her cross from the left after Leanne Crichton had played her in on the wing.
The last ting City fans wanted to see was Kazygurt taking an early lead and the Kazakh side did just that after 19 minutes. A long ball over the top found Chinwendu Ihezuo who took it down well before advancing on Lee Alexander’s goal and curling a shot beyond the keeper. City’s mountain had just gotten a whole lot bigger.
Katie McCabe was the brightest spark for City in the first half and she almost claimed an equaliser within three minutes when her effort from distance went narrowly wide. She was involved again when she picked up the ball on the right two minutes later and broke into the box only to be muscled off the ball by Yulia Myasnikova. There were muted shouts for a penalty but it did look like a fair challenge.
Finally, for all their pressure, the home side got the breakthrough they were looking for thanks to a bit of good fortune just before half time. A lovely move saw Leanne Ross play the ball down the right to Noelle Murray who flicked it back into the path of Abbi Grant. However, Grant couldn’t catch the shot the way she would have wanted but it didn’t matter as Alexandra Grebenyuk went down to collect the ball it trickled between her legs and into the net.
They were almost ahead at half time when another good move saw the ball played in from the left and the deflection almost sent it into the net.
Half time Glasgow City 1-1 BIIK Kazygurt
The second half started in the perfect manner as City took the lead on the night after just five minutes. Love played a cross into the box from the left and Grant showed great awareness to loop the ball up and over Grebenyuk into the net.
Seven minutes later and City gave themselves a great chance to get back into the tie, again, with a bit of fortune. Grebenyuk was having a nightmare in the Kazygurt goal and Ross’s free-kick from 25 yards out, just to the right of centre, caught her out as she spilled the ball into the path of Murray who tapped the ball home.
Grant missed a glorious chance just moments later when McCabe’s ball in was punched clear by the keeper. It fell to Grant on the edge of the box and, with the keeper stranded, she could only shoot wide.
The heavens had opened in Glasgow and it was raining goals at Petershill Park as City levelled the tie after 62 minutes. Grant picked up the ball on the right and drove forward before firing a shot goal-wards from the edge of the box and, with the help of a deflection, it was 4-1 and she had her hat-trick.
With City needing just one more goal, they seemed to lose their mojo for a while. A free-kick from slightly further out than the one that resulted in Murray’s goal was left by Ross for McCabe and she forced a good save from the away keeper.
The next chance fell to Nicola Docherty with 15 minutes to go when she took possession on the left before looking up and curling the ball towards the far corner but she couldn’t keep her effort down.
City were then handed the best chance they could have asked for when McCabe was fouled in the box as she was about to take aim with eight minutes to go. Up stepped Ross, the one person you would bank on scoring a penalty in the last minute of the World Cup final. Football can be a cruel game at times and her effort thundered off the post.
Two minutes later, chances fell in the six yard box to both Murray and Lauder but neither could find the target. Substitute EIlish McSorley then had a header saved by Grebenyuk before the keeper went down. With nobody near her, the referee called on the physio before restarting play with a drop ball in the box at the third attempt. Despite their best efforts, City couldn’t work anything and the last-minute corner they won was given as a free-kick to the Kazakh side.
So close and yet so far as City fall at the last 32 stage on the away goals rule.
Full time: Glasgow City 4-1 BIIK Kazygurt