Match Report

White-hot City cruise into Champions League quarter-finals

White-hot City cruise into Champions League quarter-finals
UEFA Women's Champions League
UEFA Women's Champions League
Thu 11 Mar
Ellen White 
(8', 32'),  
Caroline Weir 
View highlights
City secured progression into the quarter-finals of the UEFA Women’s Champions League with a superb 5-0 win over Fiorentina.

Braces from Ellen White and Sam Mewis, plus a Caroline Weir penalty, claimed an excellent 8-0 win on aggregate, after Gareth Taylor’s side had despatched the Italian outfit 3-0 in the first leg.

Another dominant display and quickfire start kicked off a professional performance in Florence, as City cruised into the last eight for the third time in five seasons, having reached the semis in our first two attempts.

There was further cause for celebration with a European debut for Academy graduate Millie Davies.


Lightning start

As was the case in the home leg, City came flying out of the blocks, laying siege onto the Fiorentina goal from the off.

Alex Greenwood was the first to test Katja Schroffenegger with a free-kick before White broke the deadlock on nine minutes, firing into the bottom corner, following some excellent link-up play with Lauren Hemp.

Nine minutes later, the lead was doubled from the penalty spot, as City were awarded a penalty for handball when Esme Morgan’s backpost header was adjudged to strike the hand of Nicolo Zanoli.

The in-form Weir stepped up and coolly drilled to Schroffenegger’s left.

Even with such a commanding lead, City kept our foot on the gas with relentless pressure – on and off the ball – looking to unlock the hosts’ defence at every opportunity, with Keira Walsh and Rose Lavelle pulling the strings in midfield.

The high press did invite pressure on the counter-attack, as Fiorentina sought damage limitation, but Taieb and her defence dealt well with the danger, denying Lana Clelland before Sara Baldi dragged an effort inches wide of the post.

Schroffenegger did well at the other end to thwart Hemp and White, but the pair would not be denied for long, combining once again just after the half hour as White smashed home a cross to make it three, providing further evidence of the duo’s ever-strengthening partnership and understanding.

Showcasing the incredible depth of his squad, Taylor introduced Mewis and Chloe Kelly at the break, as City looked to extend our lead further.

Kelly, Stanway and White fired over before the hour; then, Mewis took matters into her own hands with a driving run and crisp finish to make it four on the afternoon.

Youngster Davies was then brought off the bench for her Champions League debut, in another special moment for the Club, and Mewis added further gloss to the scoreline with her third goal against Fiorentina across the two legs, thumping home Kelly's pinpoint delivery.

What it means

City progress into the last eight with the draw for the quarter and semi-finals taking place on Friday 12 March at 11:00 (UK time).

How we lined up

Taylor made five changes from the side that edged out Everton at the weekend in the WSL, with Taieb starting between the sticks in Florence, shielded by a back four of Georgia Stanway, Abby Dahlkemper, Morgan and Greenwood.

In the midfield three, Walsh occupied the holding role, allowing Lavelle and Weir to get forward and support our attacking trident, which included Janine Beckie and Hemp on the flanks, providing width for captain White.

The absences of Steph Houghton and Lucy Bronze were merely precautionary.

CITY XI | Taieb, Stanway, Dahlkemper, Morgan, Greenwood, Walsh (Coombs 64'), Lavelle, Weir (Kelly 46'), Beckie (Mannion 79'), Hemp (Mewis 46'), White (C) (Davies 64')

SUBS | Roebuck, Keating, Park

FIORENTINA XI | Schroffenegger, Quinn, Cordia, Adami (C), Thogersen, Vigilucci, Middag, Baldi (Piemonte 54'), Zanoli, Sabatino, Clelland (Breitner 79')

SUBS | Ohrstrom, Monnecchi, Forcinella, Pastifieri, Papi, Mani

Player of the Match: Rose Lavelle

While the World Cup winner's City career had been severely hampered by injury, her sparkling display provided a welcome glimpse of things to come.

Starring in the heart of midfield, the United States star drove at the Fiorentina defence time after time, showcasing her incredible skill, pace and overall quality.

Stat attack

Ellen White and Sam Mewis’ double brace marked the pair's 10th and 11th goals of the season.

White has netted six goals in her last in eight games, alongside Caroline Weir, while Mewis' double claimed her fifth goal in four games!

The triumph clinched City’s eighth win in a row in all competitions.

Up next…

Unusually, City have almost a week between games, travelling to Bristol City in the FA WSL on Wednesday 17 March in a 19:30 (UK) kick-off.

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