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Rachel Corsie column: Aberdeen Women showed against full-time Rangers in first 45 minutes what can be achieved in SWPL1 this season

Rangers take on Glasgow City this weekend.
Rangers take on Glasgow City this weekend.

Aberdeen completed their group games in the Scottish Women’s Premier League Cup with a harsh 5-2 defeat against Rangers on Wednesday night.

Before the game, the Dons were in a comfortable position in Group A, having already qualified for the knock-out stages. This was thanks to three wins from their first three matches, which put Aberdeen top of the section ahead of the juicy clash.

Without taking away credit from their excellent to start to the campaign, the order of games in the SWPL Cup possibly fell kindly for Aberdeen, as it was clear Rangers would be the toughest of their four fixtures.

Having enough points already secured, and the task of progressing out of the group already being completed, meant the pressure was off for the game against strong opponents who will be in Scottish Women’s Premier League 1 with the Dons this season.

The game was hosted at Rangers’ high-calibre training centre, which is undoubtedly one of the best facilities on offer to teams in SWPL1, with great playing surfaces.

On a mid-week night, a home match was another advantage for Rangers. The Dons players would have had to endure the long travel, as well as a day’s work, given the side’s amateur stature.

Rangers have been investing heavily over the course of the last two years, and their full-time playing squad, as well coaching staff and support team, are arguably second to none in Scotland. The fitness of the home side’s players was always likely to be a factor in how the game played out.

The opening period of the game was fairly even, although Rangers found themselves with an early lead on 11 minutes thanks for a goal from former Aberdeen player Rachel McLaughlan.

However, Jess Broadrick bit back, equalising for the Dons 10 minutes later.

Jessica Broadrick (#4) of Aberdeen Women gets her side level at 1-1 and celebrates with team-mates.

What might have undone Aberdeen was the goal conceded right on half-time, as Zoe Ness fired Rangers back in front and tainted an otherwise impressive opening 45 minutes for the visitors.

The scoreline was compounded as Rangers scored a further three goals in the opening 15 minutes of the second half to give them a 5-1 lead, which was irrecoverable for Aberdeen, although Chloe Gover scored a consolation late on.

While some may be disappointed with how the game ended, there are plenty of positives to take for Aberdeen. This was a great early test for the team ahead of the league beginning, and it was a competitive opportunity against one of the team’s expected to fight for the SWPL1 title.

While fitness perhaps showed latterly, the first 45 minutes was proof of what Aberdeen can do this season and should bring confidence to the newly-promoted young side.

With Bailey Hutchison and Donna Paterson also missing, Aberdeen will be able to benchmark the performance as where they must now push forward from.

The entire squad will need to continue to push themselves physically in order to close the gap over the clubs who have already established a full-time environment.

However, given the shortened pre-season and early stage of the season, the Dons have plenty time to make marginal gains in order to get closer to sides like Rangers ahead of the clubs’ next meeting.

Glasgow City facing tough test in Switzerland’s Servette

Arsenal and Glasgow City are safely through to the next Champions League qualifying stage after wins last week.

They will join Manchester City in the second part of qualifying for the competition, with the other remaining British club, Chelsea, automatically entering at the group phase.

Due to Arsenal finishing third in last season’s FAWSL, they could have potentially faced either Lyon or Wolfsburg in the second qualifying round, as both were in the seeded pot of the draw after they finished as runners’-up in their respective domestic leagues.

Instead, rather favourably, they have been drawn against Czech side Slavia Prague.

Despite Slavia’s experience in the competition, the two-legged tie should be comfortable for the Gunners.

Meanwhile, Glasgow City will face Swiss outfit Servette. City narrowly did enough to overcome BIIK Kazygurt 1-0, thanks to another important goal from in-form striker, Priscila Chinchilla. The Swiss-side have less experience in the tournament than City, but it will certainly be a big test for the Scottish champions.

Priscila Chinchilla (#21) of Glasgow City FC capitalises on a mistake and slots the ball home to give her side the lead in Champions League qualifying.

Manchester City have the unknown task of taking on Real Madrid, who make their debut in the competition.

The Spanish giants have had a mixed start to creating a women’s programme and, despite coming second to Barcelona in last season’s Primera División, they were 25 points adrift of their rivals.

However, Real have some quality in their side, with Swedish forward Kosovare Asllani leading the charge and the very experienced German centre-back, Babett Peter, also in their ranks.

Asllani played for City between 2016 and 2017, which might add some extra spice to the tie.

The opening legs will take place on Tuesday, August 31.

Meanwhile, Leicester City women’s team continue to thrive with the club announcing they will play the majority of their home fixtures at the King Power Stadium this season.

Toffees utilise Oriam ahead of FAWSL campaign

Everton are the latest English side to be enjoying some time in Scotland, as they have spent the week on the outskirts of Edinburgh at Oriam’s High Performance Training Centre.

Manager Willie Kirk, who formerly coached Hibs in the SWPL, will face his former club in a final pre-season friendly today, after a productive week of preparation.

Scotland winger Claire Emslie will also be looking to impress ahead of the new FAWSL season.


This article originally appeared on the Evening Express website. For more information, read about our new combined website.