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Super Blues through to last eight
 Women's Football News 14 Nov 2013
 
Super Blues through to last eight - 14 Nov 2013 - Women's Football NewsBirmingham City stormed into the UEFA Women's Champions League quarter finals for the first time in their history after they defeated FK Zorkiy Krasnogorsk 5-2 at St Andrew's to complete a 7-2 aggregate victory. 
 
Kirsty Linnett capped a great display with two goals along with further strikes from Issy Christiansen, Kerys Harrop and Melissa Lawley to give Birmingham a near perfect night, apart from a wobble leading up to half time, on their first ever appearance at the stadium.
 
The Blues seemed determined to add to their two-goal lead from the first leg in Russia with an early strike and it almost came as Christiansen broke into the area and after she was tackled by Ashley Nick, the ball ran loose for Karen Carney whose shot was saved by Chante Sandiford at the near post.
 
Birmingham did not have to wait long for the opening goal though as with three minutes gone, Carney's header put Linnett through on goal and after her initial shot was parried by Sandiford, Christiansen was on hand to tap in the rebound.
 
Before Zorkiy could recover from the early setback, they found themselves two goals behind. This time it was Christiansen who chased down a long clearance from Chelsea Weston and was brought down by Sandiford on the edge of the area. The referee appeared to be in the process of awarding a free kick but Linnett reacted quickly and rolled the ball into the empty net for the second goal.
 
Four goals up on aggregate, Birmingham began to cruise and this allowed Zorkiy to get a foothold in the game. There was a warning sign on the quarter hour mark when Vira Dyatel fired a long range shot over the bar.
 
Jade Moore almost made it three from a Jo Potter corner but her header hit the side netting and just two minutes later, Zorkiy were back in the match. Svetlana Tsidikova's shot deflected off Laura Bassett and fell kindly to Maria Ruiz who steadied herself before steering the ball past Rebecca Spencer and into the corner of the net for the first goal Birmingham have conceded in Europe this season.
 
Birmingham went close once again from another Potter corner, this time Emily Westwood's far post header being brilliantly tipped over by Sandiford, but Zorkiy were having the better of things at this stage. Three minutes before half time, Dyatel's corner was met by Nick whose header took a slight deflection off Westwood on its way into the back of the net to level the scores on the night.
 
The home side suddenly looked nervous for the first time and would have had an uncomfortable half time break but within four minutes of the restart they were able to relax again. Another accurate Potter corner this time brought reward as Harrop stole in to power a downward header past Standiford to restore the Blues' lead on the night and leave the Russians requiring three more goals.
 
Harrop's goal appeared to knock the stuffing out of Zorkiy and Birmingham were never seriously troubled after this point. Potter and Moore were dominating the midfield area while Lawley was lively on the flanks all match, but it was the front two who kept causing problems for the Zorkiy defence and on 65 minutes, they combined once again to put their side further ahead.
 
Christiansen's neat pass released Linnett who beat the offside trap and rounded the oncoming Sandiford, the striker showing great composure in also taking the ball past the covering Nick before sliding into the empty net to complete her double in the night.
 
The scoring didn't end there, Christiansen producing another superb through ball to this time release the onrushing Carney who made her way to the edge of the area where she set up Lawley to clinically drill a first time shot which found the far corner.
 
Birmingham made a triple substitution at that point and closed the game out to complete a very impressive victory and the chance to take on one of the giants of European women's football in March. 
 
Birmingham City: Rebecca Spencer (sub Mary Earps 77mins), Chelsea Weston, Kerys Harrop, Jade Moore, Emily Westwood (sub Aoife Mannion 77mins), Laura Basssett, Issy Christiansen, Melissa Lawley (sub Katie Wilkinson 77mins), Kirsty Linnett, Karen Carney, Jo Potter. Subs not used: Emily Simpkins, Cristina Torkildsen, Hannah George, Coral-Jade Haines.

FK Zorkiy Krasnogorsk: Chante Sandiford, Adriana Parente, Amy Barczuk, Alyssa Mautz, Elena Medved, Ashley Nick, Vira Dyatel, Svetlana Tsidikova, Elena Morozova, Maria Ruiz (sub Olesya Kurochkina 79mins), Ekaterina Sochneva. Subs not used: Maria Zhamanakova, Natalia Russkikh, Nadezhda Genkeneva, Anastasia Slonova, Anastasia Kostyukova, Natalia Saratovceva.

Photos:

(top) Kerys Harrop slides in to tackle Elena Morozova
(middle) Jade Moore gets in a challenge on Alyssa Mautz
(bottom) Kirsty Linnett is faced by Ashley Nick

 
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