Tonight is all about Europe, but on the domestic front, Glasgow City have a seismic finale to the Scottish women’s football season.
Gunning for a 12th straight title, they’re level on points at the league summit with Hibernian. There are three games remaining, with City hosting Hibs in a blockbuster clash in the penultimate round of fixtures.
The teams also lock horns seven days previously, when they contest the Women’s Scottish Cup semi-final.
City boss Scott Booth likened the season climax to a film.
“It’s like one of those movies that you watch and you don’t know what’s going to happen and then, in the last five minutes, all is unravelled,” he said.
“It’s going to be a case of each game will mean something with an outcome. Is it going to be a Scottish Cup for Glasgow City? Is it going to be another league title? Is it going to be the last 16 of the Champions League? But the players are up for the test.
“The pressure mounts in a short space of time for the players, but we go into each season at City and the pressure is to win every game, so it’s no different when you look at it from that perspective.”
BBC Alba’s live coverage of this evening’s second leg is just getting under way, and you can also watch it online by clicking the link above.
While you’re waiting for the second leg to begin, have a gander at the highlights from the first meeting in Cyprus.
Away goals from Hayley Lauder and Leanne Crichton gave Glasgow City a commanding lead in the tie.
Glasgow City: Alexander, Ivanusa, Girasoli, Love (capt), Docherty; Kerr, Crichton, Lauder, Kulis, Howat, Grant.
Somatio Barcelona: James-Buhigas, Trutsi, Coulibaly (capt), Zampa, Ebere; Georgiou, Hayes, Solomou, Violari, Freda, Elloh.
Glasgow City are without veteran Scotland international Leanne Ross tonight, after the captain’s red card in the first leg.
The only change from that game sees Bosnian striker Lidija Kuliš, a summer signing from German side Turbine Potsdam, start up front. Abbi Grant returns from injury after Sunday’s league win over Rangers, with Jo Love taking over the armband from Ross.
Somatio are also missing their skipper, Rita Akaffou, who was also sent off in the first leg. Tiina Trutsi, Victoria Zampa and Marilena Georgiou all come in as the visitors make three changes in all.
City are reigning Scottish champions, having won the domestic top-flight for the past 11 seasons.
If they progress tonight, Scott Booth’s side would be one round away from emulating their best Champions League performance four years ago, when they reached the quarter-finals.
There, they drew Paris St Germain, and were comprehensively beaten 7-0 over two legs.
City went out on away goals at this stage last season, after a 4-4 aggregate draw with Kazakhstan’s BIIK Kazygurt.
Glasgow City reaching the last 16 would be “massive” for Scottish football, says Hayley Lauder, one of the first-leg goalscorers.
Scotland lost their second European spot for this year after falling out of the top 12 in Uefa’s rankings.
“We’ve shown again this year we can be a force in Europe,” Lauder told BBC Scotland.
“We are punching above our weight in terms of the European teams in there, so it’s really important for the Scottish game that we reach the last 16.
“For Scotland to have had two teams was fantastic for the size of the country and the size of the league.”
Copyright: Tommy Hughes
Evening all. Women’s football in Scotland is riding high, with the national team heading to their first World Cup, yesterday’s funding boost from the Scottish Government, and a tourniquet-tight contest for the Scottish Premier League title between the big two, Glasgow City and Hibernian.
Tonight, City can keep the feel-good factor going by qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League.
Two-nil up from the away leg against Somatio Barcelona of Cyprus, their chances look more than promising…
Copyright: Tommy Hughes