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Carli Lloyd marked her Champions League debut with a goal as Man City Women handed themselves the advantage with a 1-0 win in their quarter-final first leg tie against Fortuna Hjorring.
The two-time FIFA World Player of the Year opened the scoring in a dominant display for the Blues at the Bredband Nord Arena.
Direct, hungry and tireless in and out of possession, the visitors restricted their hosts to mere half-chances and could have extended their aggregate lead.
Captain Steph Houghton and 2016 top scorer Jane Ross had spoken beforehand of their side’s intention to net an away goal and from kick-off, the Blues went in search of one.
The first real chance arrived on 18 minutes when Lloyd was denied well by Maria Christiansen from close range, before Lucy Bronze struck the woodwork with a hooked effort a minute later.
The American capitalised with her second chance though, powering a bullet header past the Fortuna ‘keeper from Ross’ delivery, after Jill Scott had stolen possession in a dangerous area.
The Blues continued where they left off after the break. Aside from two long-range off-target attempts from Tamires and Olar and a cross-shot that Karen Bardsley tipped over, Hjorring rarely threatened.
Lloyd almost doubled her lead but dragged Kosovare Asllani’s drilled cross wide, while Houghton saw a header cleared off the line.
Nikita Parris then fired over, having player a neat one-two with Ross. Bronze was also unfortunate not to double the advantage as she was first thwarted by Christiansen and then headed the rebound wide.
As it turned out, one goal would be enough on the night. Will it be enough to progress? Find out in a week’s time…
City return to Manchester with a precious lead and an away goal to take into the second leg.
The Blues host Fortuna at the Academy Stadium on Thursday 30 March (7pm) and tickets are available.
Lyon or Wolfsburg await in the semi-finals…
Cushing made two changes to the side that defeated Reading in the FA Cup at the weekend, as Asllani and Ross replaced Parris and Georgia Stanway.
The Blues travel to Fortuna Hjorring in the first leg of the quarter-finals, having already defeated Zvezda Perm and Brondby.