Blues 5 (7) FK Zorkiy 2 (2)
Blues Ladies cruised into the quarter-finals of the UEFA Womens Champions League on a memorable night at St. Andrews.
A Kirsty Linnett brace backed up by goals from Izzy Christiansen, Kerys Harrop and Melissa Lawley helped wrap up a comfortable 5-2 victory on the night, and a 7-2 aggregate win in this round of 16 tie.
The hosts flew out of the traps and stormed into an early lead. With just three minutes on the clock, Linnett raced clean through only to see her low effort turned away by Chante Sandiford, but there was no stopping Christiansen as she arrived to tap in.
Christiansen and Linnett inadvertently combined for the second in the ninth minute. This time Christiansen breaking through before being hacked down by Sandiford on the edge of the area and, with all eyes on the referee, Linnett didn’t stop to wait for a whistle to fire home.
Finding themselves 4-0 down on aggregate, the Russian visitors could have crumbled but they didn’t. Svetlana Tsidikova’s hopeful punt from distance ricocheted through to Maria Ruiz 12 yards out and she neatly tucked a low effort beyond Rebecca Spencer in the 29th minute.
FK Zorkiy were level three minutes before the break. Vera Diatel’s corner from the right picked out the head of Ashley Nick six yards out and she made no mistake.
Harrop helped calm any second-half nerves by stooping in to head home Jo Potter’s corner from the right in the 50th minute.
Blues Ladies certainly saved the best until last with two fine goals to complete the rout. Linnett raced on to Christiansen’s perfect ball, rounded the goalkeeper and backtracking defender to tap home.
Then it was up to Karen Carney to work her magic as she weaved her way through the FK Zorkiy defence to tee up Lawley for a fine low finish.
Blues: Spencer (Earps 77), Weston, Harrop, Bassett, Christiansen, Linnett, Carney, Potter, Moore, Lawley (Wilkinson 77), Westwood (Mannion 77).
Subs not used: Simpkins, Torkildsen, George, Haines.
FK Zorkiy: Sandiford, Parente, Mautz, Medved, Morozova, Ruiz (Kurochkina 80), Sochmeva, Nick, Barczuk, Tsidkova, Diatel.
Subs not used: Zhamanakova, , Genkeneva, Russkikh, Kostyukova, Saratovtseva, Slomova.