Glasgow City 2-0 Celtic: Visitors angry at referee as SWPL title hopes slip away
Celtic manager Fran Alonso has "no doubts" Niamh Farrelly should have been sent off
Fran Alonso has “no doubts” Glasgow City’s Niamh Farrelly should have been sent off in Celtic’s 2-0 defeat to the champions which all but ended their SWPL 1 title hopes.
Ode Fulutudilu nudged City ahead before Tyler Dodds added a second after the break to move Eileen Gleeson’s side to within two points of leaders Rangers, albeit having played a game more.
But the game could have changed had Farrelly seen red for a studs up challenge on Chloe Craig with the score at 1-0, with Celtic now five points behind City with the prospect of Champions League football slipping away.
“It’s a very clear red card,” said Alonso. “I seen it back and it is no doubt.
“I spoke to the fourth official, the referee saw something different, it’s a very late challenge.
“There’s videos everywhere and it’s a very bad challenge, so I’m not sure how he [the referee] didn’t show the red card”.
Celtic goalkeeper Chloe Logan was also carried off late on after falling awkwardly, and will almost certainly have to pull out of the Scotland squad for the Pinatar Cup just days after receiving her first call-up.
“She is struggling to walk,” said Alonso. “I think it’s going to be bad news. We will have to wait for the MRI Scan.
“I’m gutted because she was going to go with the Scotland national team for the first time”.
City’s title hopes were on the line following Sunday’s 3-1 defeat to Rangers. That result, coupled with Rangers' 4-0 win over Hamilton on Wednesday, meant anything less than the three points for City would leave Gleeson's side with a mountain to climb in their bid to win a 15th consecutive title.
On a big night at Petershill Park, City struck first and early. Priscilla Chinchilla burrowed through a weak challenge from Caitlin Hayes, cut-back to a stretching Fulutudilu, who just managed to squeeze the ball into a gap at the back post.
And South African Fulutudilu should have made it 2-0 minutes later when she breezed past Celtic captain Kelly Clark all too easily, but meekly knocked wide of the post with the goal at her mercy.
The City side that Celtic beat in the SWPL Cup final in December looked timid and uninspired, but this time they were anything but.
Yet, a touch from class from Celtic almost levelled midway through the first half. Jacynta Galabadaarachchi played a delicious ball into the path of Clarissa Larisey, who fought off her marker but lifted her shot over the bar from close range.
And the Canadian soon spurned another chance in the box after neat passing play opened City up.
But City continued to dominate. Shine had a shot blocked, and Niamh Farrelly headed wide.
On the stroke of half-time City were fortunate not to be reduced to 10 players when Farrelly careered into Craig. Farrelly would come off worse, having to be replaced, but given another look the referee may have deemed it a red card offence.
Celtic passed up a glorious chance to level four minutes into the second half when Charlie Wellings hit a weak shot straight at the goalkeeper from inside the box.
Back play swung to the other end with Hayley Lauder's deflected shot cracking off a post, but the second goal arrived after a goalkeeping error.
Celtic had plenty of bodies back but Dodds was still able to find space on the right. She cut inside, and her left-foot shot slipped through the gloves of Logan and also past the defender on the line.
A looping shot from Clare Shine almost made it three but it bounced off the bar and into the path of the Celtic defence, while Lauder had a shot pushed away by the goalkeeper.
The lively Jacynta always looked the most likely to get Celtic back into the game but she shot wide.
After goalkeeper Logan was carried off, Celtic defender Hayes had to go in goal for the final seven minutes. And Chincilla almost added a third but nudged her effort the wrong side of the post.
Glasgow City head coach Eileen Gleeson: “I’m delighted with Ode. She only came in last week, tonight she gave us great runs and really hassled Celtic’s defenders by putting them under pressure. She was aggressive and then she scores, she done great, and we are really happy with how she is progressing.”
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