New Home kit 2018/2019
Online and InstoreBuy Now
The Blues’ 12th successive triumph in all competitions was a closely-fought contest, made all the more impressive by the fact the domestic double winners played 120 minutes in Sunday’s Continental Tyres Cup final.
Of course, that was not the ideal preparation for Cushing and his team, but the City boss opted to make just two changes from the side that defeated Birmingham, as Karen Bardsley and Kosovare Asllani – a Champions League finalist in 2015 – replaced Marie Hourihan and Nikita Parris.
With the game broadcast on Facebook Live by Nissan, the encounter provided the chance for the English champions to show the world what they could do against a team that reached the final of the competition in 2009.
Buoyed by another vocal home crowd, City started brightly, gaining early control of the game. The visitors’ physicality and high pressing refused the Blues any time on the ball. Cushing’s side tried to move the ball quickly, but were sometimes guilty of overplaying in and around the penalty area.
The first chance of the game arrived after ten minutes from a set-piece – a major threat for City this season – as Toni Duggan crossed for Steph Houghton to head over.
Jane Ross then went close with a low drive from distance, before the slowly-increasing pressure paid off on 33 minutes. Cup final goalscorer Bronze was to thank, embarking on a trademark powerful run down the flank and delivering a low ball towards the near post. Goalkeeper Zvarych parried into the path of Scott, who poked home to write herself into the history books as City’s first Champions League goalscorer.
The Blues almost doubled the lead moments later, striking the woodwork twice in quick succession. Duggan unleashed a volley at the backpost, which Zvarych excellently tipped onto the post and wide, while Houghton headed onto the bar.
Bronze also headed wide as the home side looked to gain a comfortable lead to take to the away leg.
Anastasia Pozdeeva created Perm’s best opportunity three minutes before the break, but it was a speculative effort from distance and Bardsley was not troubled.
After the restart, City continued to dominate. Duggan, Scott and Player of the Match Keira Walsh all forced Zvarych into fine stops from range, and substitute Tessel Middag volleyed over.
Scott thought she’d grabbed her second of the game on 81 minutes, clipping the post with a looping shot after being played through by Duggan, while there was a late scare as Pozdeeva stung the palms of Bardsley with a free-kick.
That would be Perm’s best chance of an equaliser, and City made sure of the win in injury time as Bronze smashed home a volley from the edge of the area.
City travel to Russia on Monday for the away leg in Perm on Wednesday 12 October (3pm BST).
Fresh from completing a domestic double, Nick Cushing’s side will once again make history as they kick off their maiden European campaign on Thursday 6 October against Russian outfit, Zvezda 2005.