BRANN………………………..4 (Engesvik 5, 39 Kielland 13, Bratberg Lund 86)
This was a sobering evening for Glasgow City, the reigning SWPL champions, whose ambitions of becoming the first Scottish team to advance to the group stages of the rejigged UEFA Women’s Champions League were dealt what would appear to be a fatal blow after a 4-0 defeat to Brann.
On the evidence of this first leg round two qualifier there is little to suggest that the tie is anything but over given the empathic lead the Norwegians will have on home soil, a lead that was thoroughly merited given the manner in which they dominated this tie.
Brann were well worth their emphatic lead with the result pouring a cold dose of reality on City’s dreams of advancing deeper into the tournament.
From the get-go it was Brann who were more aggressive as they immediately killed the feel-good vibe around Petershill. A carnival atmosphere inside the ground before kick-off was quickly killed when the Norwegians came out of the blocks with the bit firmly between their teeth.
There was only five minutes on the clock when they had netted their opener and from there on in the roof fell in on City.
“The players know that first-half performance was nowhere near good enough,” lamented City manager Leanne Ross. “The supporters came out in their numbers and we really let them down.
“I have had a few tough nights already in this post but, yeah, it is a difficult one to take. You just can’t start games like that and expect to take anything out of them.
“It was so disappointing. We gave ourselves a tough task. The intensity was improved in the second-half but you can’t behind games like that and let people run into your box. The team has to respond. We now need more of the second-half performance next week. There was no surprise for us in how they played but we have given ourselves a mountain to climb.”
Rakel Engesvik gave the Norwegians the lead after Rikki Nygard had slipped the ball through a pedestrian City defence for the striker to collect before advancing to take the ball away from the advancing City keeper Lee Gibson and roll the ball over the line.
Amalie Eikeland, a handful from the get-go for City, drove to the byline before firing the ball across goal. Alexander collected but it was clear that Brann would not simply defend their lead.
With seven minutes of the opener they had added a killer second. A Brann corner was cleared off the line before falling to Linda Motlhalo’s header at the edge of the box. Her header was weak and fell straight to the feet of Kielland who allowed the ball to bounce before sending a rasping 20-yard effort well beyond the reach of Gibson.
The third was just as cheaply given. Again, City was slow to properly clear the danger as the ball pinged around the area. It fell to Engesvik on the edge of the box who lifted the ball over the head of Kenzie Weir before drilling a low effort into the bottom corner.
City threw on the experienced Lauder after the break but by then the game was over. There was a brief flurry of intensity for the opening ten minutes after the restart but it was ineffective given the control Brann had.
There was a fourth as the game headed to full-time as Marit Bratberg Lund netted with a swerving effort with City’s Champions League dreams left in tatters.
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