Manchester City Women cruised into the last 8 of the Champions League by crushing Fiorentina 5-0 I Italy. Ellen White and Sam Mewis grabbed a brace each, while Caroline Weir scored form the penalty spot to give the blues a crushing 8-0 aggregate victory.
Already leading 3-0 from the first leg, progression to the quarter-final looked a formality, however manager Gareth Taylor was not taking any chances and named a strong line-up which included White, American stars Mewis and Abby Dahlkemper, Weir, Lauren Hemp and Alex Greenwood. Steph Houghton and Lucy Bronze missed out as a precautionary measure, while keeper Ellie Roebuck dropped to the bench.
But Taylor needn’t have worried as, just like the first leg, City took an early lead against their Italian counterparts, and it was what is becoming a great relationship that made it. Hemp linked up well with White, and the England striker buried the ball into the bottom corner after just 8 minutes.
That came after Alex Greenwood had tested the keeper with a free-kick as City looked to put the tie to bed early on. And they did so with just 18 minutes on the clock. Esme’s Morgan’s header was adjudged to have hit the hand of defender Nicolo Zanoli and the referee pointed to the spot. Weir stepped up and beat the keeper from 12 yards to put the blues firmly in control.
At 5-0 on aggregate, there wasn’t much chance of a recovery from the home side, but City still pressed forward for more goals, while soaking up a bit of Fiorentina pressure well. Karima Taieb saved well Lana Clelland, while at the other end, Hemp and White were threatening to add more to the already large aggregate scoreline.
But on 32 minutes, the home side’s luck would run out again as the same duo combined to make it 3-0, with White grabbing her second of the game, giving City a 6-0 aggregate lead.
Italian hearts will have been happy to see the back of Hemp, who made way at half-time, but her replacement would continue where the youngster left off. And to add to the worries of the home side, Weir also came off at half-time to be replaced by Chloe Kelly.
Within the first fifteen minutes of the second half, City could have had another three, but Georgia Stanway, White and Kelly all fired over as the blues threatened a cricket score. Mewis then decided to get in on the goal-scoring act in the 60th minute, driving forward and producing a brilliant finish to make it 4-0 on the day.
And the other substitute Kelly provided Mewis with her second and City’s fifth of the afternoon, hammering home the winger’s cross to complete an emphatic win for the blues and send them into Friday’s draw full of confidence.