A ruthless display of attacking football ensured City made a flying start to our defence of the Continental Cup, with an emphatic 5-0 win over Leicester City.

Caroline Weir and Pauline Bremer each grabbed a brace before Tessa Wullaert completed the scoring, curling into the top corner to net the pick of the bunch and send City top of Group C after one game.

 Nick Cushing had made six changes to the team that started against Reading, handing debuts to Karima Benameur, Matilde Fidalgo and Tyler Toland and City were made to work  hard for the three points.

Leicester were resolute in their defending early on and only trailed by one goal at the break, but City moved through the gears in the second period when our quality proved too much for the Championship outfit.

What happened

Chances were few and far between in the first half, as the Foxes remained compact and denied the hosts space in the final third.

Cushing’s side were assured, however, knocking the ball around patiently, with Weir and Megan Campbell providing an outlet down the left, while Laura Coombs thrived in the congested midfield.

The summer recruit had twice teed up Jess Park before she clipped a wonderfully weighted ball in behind, which Weir killed in one touch before rounding keeper Scarlett Field and tapping into the empty net.

                        Five star City begin cup defence in style

Bremer also went close, carving a yard of space 20-yards from goal and forcing Field into a good save, while at the other end, Benameur, needed only to watch speculative efforts from Hayley James and Lachante Paul fly wide of the post.

Part-time Leicester were giving away 20 places in the women’s football pyramid and City’s superiority showed after the break, as the visitors tired from chasing the ball.

Coombs and the lively Park had fired warning shots over the bar before Bremer doubled our advantage on the hour mark, firing in from close range after the Foxes had failed to deal with Park's cross.

Eighteen minutes later and City were 4-0 up and out of sight.

With gaps opening, Keira Walsh slipped Bremer in again and she raced clear and shot across the keeper into the bottom left corner for her fifth goal in three games.

                        Five star City begin cup defence in style

Field then produced a fine save to deny Wullaert, who had time to pick her spot, but the visiting keeper could do nothing about the fourth, as Weir converted Campbell’s centre from inside the six-yard box.

Wullaert made amends for her earlier miss with nine minutes remaining and did so in fine style.

Taking advantage of time and space in the box, she picked out the top corner with a curling effort to seal a comfortable victory.

Goal glut

It’s said to be the hardest thing to do in football, but City have found the back of the net with consummate ease in the opening weeks of the season.

Cushing’s side have scored 14 goals in the last three games and having previously spoken of the need to have goals from all areas, he will no doubt be pleased to see six different names on the scoresheet.

Similarly, he should be satisfied with how the chances are being coverted. Poacher's finishes, completing crosses and deftly hit strikes, City looked a threat in all manner of scenarios. 

Bremer led the way, but her game is about so much more than just goals.

Against Leicester she was the focal point of the attack, and her work-rate and link up play allowed the likes of Weir, Coombs and Park all to thrive in advanced areas.

                        Five star City begin cup defence in style

Player of the match: Caroline Weir

Always available and always threatening, even in the first half when Leicester's deep-lying defensive line made it difficult for City's forwards to exploit space.

The 24-year-old worked well with Campbell on the left flank and also moved inside to pick up the ball in the pocket of space between defence and midfield.

The touch and composure for her first strike were exceptional and that effort proved critical, breaking down the visitor's stubborn defence and opening the game up for the goals that followed.

Up next

Champions League action returns to the Academy Stadium on Wednesday 25 September, when City welcome Lugano to Manchester for the second leg of our Round of 32 tie.

We go into the game with a handsome aggregate lead, having won 7-1 in Switzerland ten days ago.

We have to wait a month for our next Continental Cup tie and it’s a mouth-watering clash against Manchester United at Leigh Sports Village at midday on Sunday 20 October.

Tickets for all home women’s games are available online or at the Ticket Office.