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Academy get past Barcelona
 Women's Football News 14 Nov 2014
 
Academy get past Barcelona - 14 Nov 2014 - Women's Football NewsBristol Academy 1 (Watts pen 82) FC Barcelona 1 (Losada 39)
Bristol Academy won 2-1 on aggregate

A penalty eight minutes from time by Nikki Watts took Bristol Academy into the quarter finals of the UEFA Women's Champions League at the expense of Barcelona at Ashton Gate. 
 
The game looked to be heading towards extra time before the 27-year-old striker scored the decisive goal after her team had been on the defensive for much of the match.
 
Academy went into the second leg with a one-goal advantage and Barcelona looked determined to rectify this right from the start of the match. However, despite some impressive passing and movement befitting their club's famous name, the final ball often let them down and they rarely got behind the Academy back four.
 
Maria Losada did force Mary Earps into a near post save and a cross-cum-shot by captain Marta Unzue drifted narrowly wide of the far post but apart from this, the Vixens defence dealt comfortably enough with each wave of attack.
 
Academy had shown little as an attacking force in the opening half hour but created their first opportunity when a good ball from Natasha Harding picked out Natalia Pablos Sanchon whose shot was saved by Laura Rafols.
 
Barcelona hit back with Alexia Putellas firing wide from 20 yards and two minutes later, following good work by Losada, Jennifer Hermoso's shot was deflected just past the post.
 
At the other end, a good passing move of their own culminated with Angharad James finding Corinne Yorston on the left where her low cross narrowly evaded Harding in front of goal.
 
Six minutes before half time, Jaz Matthews was somewhat harshly penalised for handball on the edge of the area. Losada stepped up to take the resulting free kick and, after her initial shot had come back off the wall, her second effort took a huge deflection off Sophie Ingle and past a wrong footed Earps to level the scores on aggregate.
 
The goal clearly lifted Barcelona and they pressed forward in search of a second, passing up a great chance just before half time when Marta Torrejon headed a good chance over the bar from a corner.
 
Academy started the second half in determined fashion and won an early corner, which was half cleared as far as James who fired her shot over the bar.
 
Back came Barcelona with Marta Corredera threading a good pass into the path of Hermoso who broke into the area but her shot lacked power and went harmlessly wide via a deflection.
 
The second half was much more evenly contested with Academy's midfield getting more of a grip on matters and the home side were now being roared on by the home support in excess of 2,000. On the hour mark, they were inches away from the goal they craved when Natalia tried her luck from 30 yards with a shot that dipped over Rafols but crashed back off the bar.
 
Both teams were pushing forward at every opportunity and it was Barcelona who were next to go close. Following a good passing move, prompted by the excellent Losada, Virginia Torrecilla unleashed a shot from 25 yards which looked destined for the top corner but Earps pulled off a superb save to her left.
 
James saw a shot deflected wide but four minutes later, Academy were given the chance they wanted when Harding went down under a challenge from Ruth Garcia and a penalty was awarded. After a short delay, Watts kept her cool to find the corner of the net and put her side back in front overall.
 
Garcia almost made amends as she headed over from a corner at the other end and another kick led to a huge scare for Academy as the game went into injury time. The ball drifted beyond the far post to Losada, who cut in from the line and curled a delightful shot around Earps but a perfectly placed Grace McCatty came to her side's rescue with a header off the line.
 
There were still more anxious moments for Academy in the last few moments but they dug in to keep Barcelona at bay and the final whistle was greeted with huge celebrations and joyous scenes. 
 
Bristol Academy: Mary Earps, Grace McCatty, Loren Dykes, Jaz Matthews, Jemma Rose, Sophie Ingle, Natalia Pablos Sanchon (sub Georgia Evans 90mins), Angharad James, Natasha Harding, Nikki Watts, Corinne Yorston (sub Laura Del Rio 58mins). Subs not used: Alice Evans, Keka Vega, Alex Hurst, Frankie Brown, Gabriella Bird.

FC Barcelona: Laura Rafols, Marta Torrejon, Ruth Garcia, Marta Unzue, Melanie Serrano, Gema Gili (sub Sonia Bermudez 52mins), Marta Corredera, Jennifer Hermoso (sub Nuria Garrote 75mins), Marta Losada, Virginia Torrecilla, Alexia Putellas. Subs not used: Chelsea Ashurst, Esther Romero, Maria Caldentey, Ana Maria Romero, Cristina Baudet.

Photos:

(top) A grounded Grace McCatty and Angharad James keep the ball away from Marta Losada and Jennifer Hermoso
(middle) Laura Rafols and Marta Unzue keep Natasha Harding at bay
(bottom) Natalia Pablos Sanchon takes on Marta Unzue


 
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