Celtic 2-2 Glasgow City: How half-time roll of the dice turned game in Fran Alonso's favour
Olivia Chance and Shen Mengyu made their mark as Celtic turned around a 2-0 half-time deficit to draw with champions Glasgow City at the Penny Cars Stadium.
Goals from Clare Shine and Lauren Davidson had the visitors firmly in control at half time, with Celtic struggling to get out of their own half and establish a foothold in the game.
It could have been worse for the home side too, as Ode Fulutudilu looked to be tripped by Caitlin Hayes in the Celtic penalty area but no penalty was given.
Fran Alonso brought on summer signings Chance and Mengyu at the break, who combined to bring their side roaring back into the game.
However, it was Glasgow City who went closest to a winner, with Shine and Priscila Chinchilla passing up good opportunities.
The draw prevents either side from taking an early psychological advantage in what promises to be another intriguing title race.
Half-time changes turn game for Celtic
Celtic opted for solidity in their line-up, with three centre backs and captain Kelly Clark providing defensive cover in the midfield. However, the high press from City’s attackers prevented them from successfully playing out from the back as they generally do.
This led to City keeping Celtic pinned back deep for long spells in the first half, both on and off the ball. The front three of Celtic became increasingly isolated and City were able to capitalise on mistakes as the hosts attempted to pass it around the defence.
The first goal for Shine came through sloppiness from Celtic while defending a corner, combined with terrific direct play from the Glasgow City striker. A short corner left her one-on-one with Charlie Wellings out wide. She took advantage of the mismatch and drove into the box, scoring at the near post.
Choice and Mengyu were introduced in place of the ineffective Larisey and Atkinson at half time, and the difference in Celtic was remarkable. The replacements were willing to come short and make themselves available to the wing backs and midfielders to help them move the ball up the park. which they had struggled to do in the first half.
‘Brilliant’ half-time team talk
Celtic manager Fran Alonso: “The half time team talk was brilliant for us and the substitutions worked well. I’m disappointed not to get the three points but in the second half the team was outstanding. Every game they give 100%.”
Glasgow City interim manager Grant Scott: “I think if we take one or two of those chances in the second half then it’s a different story. I think in general in the second half we maybe just lost a little bit of composure, which is disappointing from our side”
Anyone’s Game player of the match
Coming off the bench to score twice is always a good day’s work, but in the case of Olivia Chance it was all the sweeter as her contribution earned her side a point against the reigning champions.
She looked lively and was wanting to get on the ball and create an option for her teammates throughout the second half, an attribute which had been conspicuous in its absence in the first half for Celtic. She took her two goals nicely and helped Celtic compete in the middle of the park.