They had to suffer until the final whistle, and when the latter arrived, they took a deep breath reflecting on what this two-legged tie produced. Italian champions ACF Brescia prolonged their adventure in the UEFA Women's Champions League courtesy of the away goal rule, after drawing 6-6 on aggregate with Polish outfit Medyk Konin.
After the breathtaking 4-3 victory for the Poles in the first leg, Brescia did an equally fantastic job yesterday, when they recuperated a two-goal deficit (on aggregate) and registered a 3-2 victory, which saw them clinch a last 16 spot.
Medyk Konin looked more confident
Brescia's head coach, Milena Bertolini, applied a 3-4-1-2 tactical system for the very first time in this season, with Cristiana Girelli, Silvia Fuselli and Daniela Sabatino up front, while at the back, Roberta D'Adda replaced Raffaela Manieri with Valentina Cernoia playing as a lateral midfielder.
After just four minutes, the away side knocked on Brescia's door with a splendid shot from outside the box from Patrycja Balcerzak, but her effort went inches wide. The Polish side kept their high tempo reigning and few minutes later, they forged ahead when Balcerzak served Liliana Kostova, who finished in the most composed of ways.
Brescia were not broken though, and after the 15th minute mark, they levelled when Girelli capitalised on Fuselli's cross to make it 1-1 and reignited their chances. The first half proceeded with both teams being more cautious, as the fear of being eliminated was evident, and as a result of this, the match lacked any other goal-scoring opportunities, with the first 45 minutes ending at 1-1.
Brescia with a quick turnaround
The second half initiated in the worst possible manner for the hosts, as they saw their opponents go in front for the second time, courtesy of Aleksandra Sikora who caught Brescia's backline napping. Bertolini transformed her 3-4-1-2 into a more offensive 4-2-4, with Cernoia retreating back into a full back position.
This tactical change would bear fruit immediately, when Girelli put the ball into the back of net, in the midst of a huge cheer from the huge crowd at the Stadio Mario Rigamonti, in Brescia. The momentum was evidently with Brescia and after missing a couple of chances, they finally forged ahead on the 84th minute, when Sabatino capitalized on Cernoia's cross, to give Brescia its qualification after an impressive comeback.