Lauren Hemp announced she’s back with a bang, netting a Goal of the Season contender to help secure City’s passage into the Champions League Round of 16.

The PFA Young Player of the Year smashed home a rocket from 25 yards to open the scoring in the Round of 32 second leg clash against Göteborg, before substitute Georgia Stanway bagged a second-half brace to clinch a 3-0 win (5-1 on aggregate).

The superb strike marked her first goal of the season with the 20-year-old having missed the opening months of the 2020/21 campaign through injury.

The victory continued City’s excellent run of form with four wins from four in December, as Gareth Taylor‘s side continue to progress both domestically and in Europe.


What happened

While last-weekend’s long-awaited return to European action marked cause for celebration, as City came from behind to triumph 2-1 in Sweden with two valuable away goals, Taylor and his players had emphasised the danger of complacency.

The early exchanges at the Valhalla IP had seen the Damallsvenskan Champions harry and hassle the visitors, capitalising with a goal inside two minutes.

City had responded well, turning the game on its head through Georgia Stanway’s 50th goal for the Club and Sam Mewis’ first Champions League strike – and the winning mentality shone through again with another impressive fightback against Arsenal on Sunday.

Smarting from the early setbacks those last two games, City sought to gain control from the off.

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Ellen White almost steered home an opener inside the first 10 minutes, sliding in to meet the pacy Hemp’s nearpost delivery – but the ball bounced just the wrong side of the post.

The in-form Caroline Weir then almost netted her second goal of the week, turning well inside the box but firing off-target.

Mewis then blazed over the bar, as the home side continued to turn the screw, before the breakthrough arrived on 36 minutes, courtesy of youngster Hemp.

A threat throughout the first half, the winger cut inside before smashing a stunning effort over Jennifer Falk and into the back of the net.

With the momentum, City went in search of a second and Mewis was unfortunate to see her low attempt bounce back off the post, while Janine Beckie then headed over the crossbar.

The hosts continued where we left off after the break, almost netting another sensational goal as Alex Greenwood pulled a top-drawer save from Falk, as the defender looked to catch the ‘keeper off her line from 40 yards!

Not to be outdone at the other end, Ellie Roebuck produced a fantastic stop to thwart Vilde Boe Rise’s outstanding volley - somehow plucking the ball out of the top corner.

Half-time substitute Laura Coombs then drew another fine stop from Falk but two quickfire goals midway through the second period settled the contest.

Both strikes were uncannily similar, as White saw two shots parried and Stanway was on hand to pounce on both rebounds!

Though deserving of a goal, White was desperately unlucky not to add her name to the scoresheet, as a nifty flick on 90 minutes trickled agonisingly back off the post.

Jill Scott also went close but three would be more than enough for City on the night though with the hard work done in Sweden.

What it means

City progress to the Round of 16 draw, which takes place in Nyon on Tuesday 16 February 2021 (11:00 UK time).

Ties will be played on 3/4 and 10/11 March.

How we lined up

Taylor made two changes to the side which snatched a last-gasp win over Arsenal on Sunday, as Ellen White and Janine Beckie replaced Chloe Kelly and Georgia Stanway.

CITY XI | Roebuck, Stokes, Greenwood (Bonner 72’), Houghton (C), Bronze, Walsh, Weir (Coombs 46’), Mewis (Scott 72’), Hemp (Kelly 62’), White, Beckie (Stanway 60’)

SUBS | Bardsley, Taieb, Morgan

GÖTEBORG | Falk, Roddar, Kullberg, Curmark (Junttila Nelhage 85’), Koivisto, Csiki (Andersson 65’), Boe Risa, Angeldal, Wijk, Blackstenuis (Ijeh 90’), Hammarlund

SUBS | Geurts, Folds, Svedberg

Player of the Match: Lauren Hemp

Electric pace and an electrifying finish!

Although she continues her recovery from injury with managed minutes, Lauren Hemp looked back to her best, storming past her markers and providing City’s best attacking threat with dangerous deliveries at every opportunity.

Her goal was a joy to behold - a moment of individual brilliance, which was clearly enjoyed by all, with her prior absence strongly felt.

Stat attack

Georgia Stanway bagged City’s 50th European goal and sits as City’s top scorer for the season with eight goals in the 2020/21 campaign.

Keira Walsh is the only player to have featured in all 26 of our Champions League games.

Up next...

City round off a successful 2020 with an FA Women’s Super League trip to Birmingham on Sunday 20 December.

It’s a 14:00 UK kick-off at Damson Park with the game set to be shown live via the FA Player.


Match highlights from Wednesday’s Champions League encounter and a full 90-minute replay of the match (available with a CITY+ subscription) will be available from noon UK time on Thursday 17 December.