Glasgow City was made to pay for a couple of defensive lapses as they exited the UEFA Women's Champions League to Eskilstuna United, after losing 2-1 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate. Having lost 1-0 in Sweden, City knew about the danger of conceding an away goal but that is just what they did as Olivia Schough scored in the seventh minute. That goal meant City had to score three goals on the night.
Although City pulled equalised in the first minute of the second half, Eskilstuna soon retook the lead.
There was not much between the sides over the 180 minutes, but City clearly struggled after conceding the early away goal. It means for the second year in a row, Glasgow City exits the tournament at the Round of 32 stage but have already qualified for next season's tournament.
City's poor start
Glasgow City got off to the worst possible start as they conceded after just seven minutes. A long ball had sent Mimmi Larsson through on goal, but although Nicola Docherty made the crucial tackle she could not fully clear the ball. Eskilstuna reworked the ball and Annica Svensson picked out Olivia Schough at the near post and the Swedish striker made no mistake.
City slowly dragged themselves back into the game and had their first chance when a Leanne Ross' free-kick picked out Clare Shine, but she couldn't get the direction needed on her shot.
The home side was getting into the game with Fiona Brown having her shot blocked and then Shine shooting wide from a Erin Cuthbert cross. Then, the impressive Cuthbert won possession back in the middle of the park, playing Hayley Lauder through – but there was an Eskilstuna defender there to make the block.
Eskilstuna gave Glasgow City a couple of warning signs soon after with Schough's header sending Larsson through, but the striker took a heavy touch that ran through to Fay. And then Ingrid Schjelderup was allowed to run through the middle, but there was a City defender there to make the crucial block when the Norwegian midfielder had a shot.
City though was starting to get on top without testing the keeper. Cuthbert had a lovely effort from the edge of the box that curled just wide, before Brown and Jo Love both had long-range efforts go wide.
Crilly gives City hope
But in the 37th minute, City should have equalised. A perfect cross from Docherty picked out Shine unmarked in the middle of the box, but the striker missed the target with her shot.
However, Glasgow City got off to the perfect start in the second half. Within the opening minute, they had equalised when Docherty's cross fell to Sarah Crilly at the far post who smashed the ball past the keeper.
City came close to their second when Fiona Brown's cross picked out Clare Shine whose header was flying towards the top corner, only for the keeper Emelie Lundberg to make a smart save.
Schough scores her second
But then Eskilstuna dealt City a hammer blow with a second goal on the night. When Larsson's cross wasn't fully cleared by City, the ball fell to Malin Diaz on the edge of the box. She curled her shot towards the bottom corner, and although Fay made the save, she couldn't get a strong enough hand to it and Schough was there to fire in the rebound.
Initially, City struggled to deal with the blow, but when they found their attacking play again, they starting looking like finding a way back into the tie. Leanne Ross had a snap-shot from 20 yards just fly wide of the left post and late on Cuthbert saw a shot that seemed destined for the back of the net creep agonisingly wide of the far post.
Glasgow City's Head Coach Scott Booth admitted that conceding an early goal had an impact, saying: "Of course we're disappointed about the result, because despite being a goal down we still felt we had a chance to go through this tie. But it didn't work out that way in the fact we conceded an early goal and that changed things slightly."
Despite going out, City's captain Leanne Ross said that: “Disappointed, but I think we've played well over the two legs. We've shown we can play different styles of football, we were a bit more defensive over there, brought the tie back for something to play for here but as Scott says, losing that early goal just puts the game plan out of the window a bit. Disappointed in that respect but proud of everyone in the effort they've put in.”
Eskilstuna United's Head Coach Viktor Eriksson agreed about the importance of the early goal, commenting: "But it felt like we had that 1-0 up when the game started and then we scored an early goal and it felt like we had that in our bag for the most of the game. But they were fighting for it until the last kick of the game.”