Three-time champions 1. FFC Frankfurt won their first leg 5-0 at Bristol Academy WFC and coach Colin Bell praised an impressive display, saying "we were very good".
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Three-time winners 1. FFC Frankfurt took a huge step towards the UEFA Women's Champions League semi-finals with a 5-0 first-leg victory at Bristol Academy WFC.
Quarter-final debutants Bristol, who have lost several players since their round of 16 elimination of FC Barcelona, fought bravely but trailed at half-time through Verónica Boquete and Bianca Schmidt. Dzsenifer Marozsán, substitute Mandy Islacker and Kerstin Garefrekes added further goals to ensure a comfortable cushion for next Sunday's return in Germany.
Frankfurt were forced into a pre-match change when defender Kathrin-Julia Hendrich was injured in the warm-up, making way for Ana Maria Crnogorčević. The visitors had the better of the early exchanges and on 25 minutes were awarded a penalty when Georgia Evans lost the ball then tripped Schmidt – but Célia Šašić's kick was comfortably saved by Mary Earps.
However, the visitors struck on 36 minutes when Garefrekes played Boquete clear to calmly beat Earps. And Frankfurt were not satisfied with that, doubling their lead on the stroke of half-time as Boquete set up Schmidt to catch out Earps at her near post.
The German side did not ease up after the break and Bristol seldom threatened, despite introducing winter signings Hayley Ladd and Sharla Passariello. Marozsán's powerful finish made it three in the 66th minute, Boquete again teeing the scorer up. Two minutes after replacing Šašić, Islacker smashed in a loose ball inside the box for Frankfurt's fourth. Islacker crafted the fifth, looping a shot on to the crossbar for Garefrekes to tap in the rebound.
Colin Bell, Frankfurt coach
We were well-prepared for the match. We knew what to expect. We want to fight for every ball and win every tackle and keep possession as much as possible – that's what we did. We could have scored three of four more goals, their goalkeeper made a few good saves, and we were maybe too casual. We played a very good football match. Our game is about possession and keeping the ball. If we do that well, the opponents can try as hard as they can, they won't get anywhere near us.
We tried to force it a bit too much in the first 20 or 25 minutes and we made a few silly mistakes, but as soon as we got the goal we were very good. Anybody that saw the game today would be impressed.
We won't slack off at all – we want to keep winning, we are in three competitions and we have the chance to win all three. You can end up winning nothing and that's why we don't want to make any mental mistakes and think we can ease off or make five changes and give some of the other girls a game. We'll have to make one change as Simone Laudehr will be suspended for the return, but other than that we will be fighting for it and want to have a good game for our own crowd.
Dave Edmondson, Bristol manager
They were exactly what I expected: a top-quality side. I've watched them live and footage of a few of their games and they are a top side. We had a game plan to stop it and for half an hour it probably did, but then it came down to individual mistakes. We talked about not letting them come through the middle and keeping them out wide. A little bit of naivety and inexperience meant we got too tight too many times. Players of that quality turn back inside and that is our whole game plan out of the window. They are playing where they want to play and where we don't want them to play.
They are a top side and we were never going to stop that, a team that good for the whole 90 minutes, but we made it too easy for them – I'm not sure we made a tackle. You have to make them earn it and we were a bit too respectful. We said respect them but not fear them, but we've gone a bit too far in that. We gave them too much respect and too much time on the ball and players of that quality will exploit that.
You're always optimistic, but going to Frankfurt to win 6-0 is beyond even my realms of optimism.
Mary Earps, Bristol goalkeeper
Everybody's a little bit deflated. We wanted more from the game. Frankfurt were a great team and we knew that we would be, but we didn't hope for that kind of outcome.
We've got to learn from today and hopefully we will be back in the competition soon, plus we've still got the second leg. It's about going there and giving the best account of ourselves as we can. We're not going to kid ourselves and say we are going to score 20 goals because if it was that easy we would have done that today.
[For the penalty save] I'm elated that I've got to make that save, especially against such a top player. I'm delighted with the save to keep it at 0-0, but it didn't really change the outcome. On a personal level there's positives I'm going to take from it, but there are things I'm also going to learn from it.