Manchester City bow out of the Champions League

Manchester City's Lucy Bronze takes on Marion Caldentey of FC Barcelona.
Manchester City's Lucy Bronze takes on Marion Caldentey of FC Barcelona during the UEFA Women's Champions League match at Academy Stadium, Manchester. (Photo by Andrew Yates/Sportimage)

Manchester City took to the pitch on Wednesday in the second leg of their Champions League home tie against Barcelona. The English side went into the fixture with a three-goal deficit.

Starting XI’s

Manchester City: Roebuck; Bronze, Dahlkemper, Greenwood, Morgan, Walsh, Lavelle, Mewis, Kelly, Beckie, White (c)

Barcelona: Paños; Torrejon, Pereira, María León, Ouahabi Guijarro, Alexia (c), Bonmati, Caldentey, Graham Hansen, Oshoala

How it unfolded

Manchester City were instantly trying to make amends for their poor showing last week in Monza, Italy. The WSL side were pressing their visitors more and finding their way through the Spanish back line, particularly with the American partnership of Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis. Mewis would frequently push through the Barca defence. This enabled the City forwards to have much more success on goal than they had during the first leg.

In the 20th minute, Janine Beckie shone a thin ray of hope onto her side’s chances of progression. The No.11 scored the first Manchester City goal across either of the legs.

Asisat Oshoala laid doubts to City’s semi-final dreams when she scored in the 56th minute, bagging her side a crucial away goal. Mewis once again proved her class and composure as she tucked away a 68th minute penalty. Ultimately, the two goals were not enough to see the hosts through and they bowed out of the competition.

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Post match thoughts

Speaking after the game, Manchester City manager Gareth Taylor said the team had needed to play with an element of risk in order to bring the game to Barcelona. When asked about the penalty decision, Taylor was critical of the standard of refereeing during the game. He felt that many big decisions had gone against his side.

The City manager was unable to provide much information on midfielder Laura Coombs who was seen receiving treatment on the pitch following the game. Taylor believed the issue was dehydration which Coombs had been struggling with earlier in the week and that, when combined with the warm weather, had left the No.7 feeling unwell.

He was also full of praise for summer signing Lucy Bronze. When asked about the importance of Bronze in his team, Taylor cited her experience stating that she was a player who could guide those younger than her in the City squad.

Stand out performance

Lucy Bronze was potentially the most impressive player across both sides. With several jaw dropping goal line clearances, Bronze kept her side in the game despite Barcelona’s formidable attack. Bronze may have only returned to Manchester earlier this season but she has already stamped her authority.

Between Taylor’s praise for the defender and the respect her teammates evidently have for her, the defender has proven her value to the team. With Bronze having already lifted the Champion’s League trophy, her experience will be vital in next year’s competition.

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