Manchester City Women will take a commanding lead to Italy in the Champions League as they beat Italian side Fiorentina 3-0 at the Academy Stadium. Two goals in the first four minutes from Ellen White and Lauren Hemp set the blues on the road to victory, with Sam Mewis heading in a third late on.
It was the first meeting between the two sides in the Champions League and the blues were eager to follow up Sunday’s 4-0 hammering of Birmingham by taking a giant stride to the quarter-final. Manager Gareth Taylor said before the match that his side are capable of winning the trophy, ending the dominance of Olympique Lyonnais, who have won the trophy five times. “I believe we are good enough to win it. Achieving it is the hard part!”
But on Wednesday, the bleus showed exactly why Taylor feels his side can lift the trophy for the first time as they blew the Italian side away in the first few minutes. Chloe Kelly’s run and cross from the right was met with a thunderous header from Lauren Hemp to put City in front after just 90 seconds, and when Ellen White hammered home City’s second from a Hemp cross after just four minutes, it started to look like the second leg would be a pointless affair.
White could have grabbed herself one of the competition’s quickest hat-tricks, such was City’s dominance in the opening ten minutes. The England striker, who bagged a treble for her country recently, forced visiting keeper Katja Schroffenegger into a save after the ever-impressive Kelly had set her up, then glanced a header over the bar a few minutes later as City looked to put the game, and indeed the tie, to bed before half-time.
The visitors recovered slightly after that initial City onslaught, but still ended up spending much of the match on their own half. Schroffenegger denied Hemp her second on 20 minutes as she blocked the winger’s shot when a goal looked the most likely outcome, and also prevented White from scoring again midway through the first half.
The half produced no further goals, but it was the visitors who came closest to scoring when the teams emerged for the second half. Danish international Frederikke Thogersen found herself through on goal, but curled her shot wide of the City goal.
City needed the comfort of a third goal to take a larger lead to Italy next week and it finally came in the 89th minute, courtesy of American international Mewis. It was Kelly again who created the goal, crossing for Mewis to head home beyond the dive of Schroffenegger to make it 3-0.
The return leg will take place on Thursday 11th March, where the blues should hopefully finish what they started on Wednesday.
Final Score: Manchester City Women 3-0 Fiorentina Women