After 38 competitive games and over 13 months without losing, Glasgow City LFC finally succumbed to a defeat at the weekend that leaves them needing to overturn a 3-0 deficit at home to Arsenal LFC on Wednesday.
Saturday's reverse in London makes Glasgow clear outsiders in their bid to reach a first UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-final as they renew acquaintances with a club who have never failed to get that far in 11 previous European campaigns. However, with all tickets sold for the second leg at Petershill Park, captain Rachel Corsie is defiant.
"Defensively everyone worked very hard and did well as a team and individually, and 3-0 is not the worst result to be taking back to Petershill against a good Arsenal side," defender Corsie told UEFA.com. "We've sold a lot of tickets and that's great to see we are getting that support. I know that is something everyone at Glasgow City is looking forward to."
The first Anglo-Scottish tie in this competition has an extra Caledonian flavour, with Corsie's compatriot Shelley Kerr managing an Arsenal team containing the centre-back's international team-mate Kim Little and former Glasgow player Emma Mitchell. "I played with Emma Mitchell for the last few years and I've played against Kim Little since I was ten or 11, so [they are] players I know fairly well," Corsie said.
"But everyone who plays for Arsenal is a good player and our squad are used to it – a lot of our players are full internationals and everyone has at least played at international level for youth [sides], so big games against top players is something our players are used to."
Even if Glasgow are eliminated on Wednesday, 2013 has been a successful year. In Saturday's Scottish Women's Cup final against Hibernian LFC they can complete a second consecutive domestic treble, having also beaten FC Twente and Standard Femina de Liège in Europe. Their run in this competition especially has gained media attention in Scotland and City have been the focus of a BBC television documentary.
"We've taken a step forward in our profile, but over the last few years we've progressed and progressed," said the 24-year-old Corsie, who joined Glasgow from her local side Aberdeen LFC in 2008. "There are a lot of reasons for that, there's a lot of support behind the scenes. And the signings we've made this year, we've brought in some internationals and that's really helped us to promote ourselves and improve as a team."
Whatever happens, Glasgow have vastly improved on their only previous round of 16 appearance two years ago, when they lost 10-0 away and 7-0 at home to 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam. "That's something that for a lot of players is still in the back of their minds," Corsie said. "We're at the same stage now and we are pleased to be going back to Glasgow still in the tie."
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