Manchester City 2 – 0 Zvezda Perm 05
Manchester City Women made it a debut to remember in their historic first ever Women’s Champions League match game, as the Citizens were given a tough draw in their first outing in the top European competition, facing Russian side Zvezda Perm 05. City’s Academy Stadium played host to it’s first Champions League contest and saw goals by England International duo of Jill Scott and Lucy Bronze, helping the home side passing their European examination with flying colours and take an important 2-0 lead with them over to Russia next Thursday for the second leg.
The home side settled pretty quickly into the game, although they weren’t troubling the keeper much. Visitors Zvezda, really struggled to cope with City and especially the runs down the flanks from Lucy Bronze, as she got a lot of joy for the home side. City were in complete control of the game throughout and never looked like giving their opponents a mere sniff of a chance in the match. Nick Cushing’s side dominated from the first whistle and had their opposition in all kinds of trouble across the pitch. There constant pressing high up the field saw Jane Ross trying a pop from long range, but she dragged her shot wide of the target as they began to create some meaningful chances.
Jill Scott then wrote her name in City Women’s folklore, as she scored the sides first European goal in the competition, after a determined run by Lucy Bronze saw the England defender knocking a ball between two of the Zvezda defenders and her cross in the area saw Ross taking the pace out of the ball and fell nicely for Scott who poked home for a 1-0 lead on 33 minutes. In truth it was no more than the home side deserved, as the Russian side were leaving gaps all over and were unable to contain a marauding Manchester City side.
City Captain Steph Houghton sees her header hitting the bar Pic: Man City.com
City almost doubled their lead through a Toni Duggan effort shortly after, when Lucy Bronze yet again raced down the right wing and put in a fizzing ball into the penalty area that missed everyone, but Duggan smashed the ball on target and needed a good stop by the Zvezda keeper to keep it out. Steph Houghton was the next City player go close for the home side, after the Captain attacked a Toni Duggan corner and saw her header rattling off the bar and was steered away from danger by the Russian side. The last decent chance of any note came from defender Jennifer Beattie, when the Scottish defender headed from another Duggan corner and saw her effort going just wide of the near post.
Both teams would have been pleased to some extent as the half time whistle came, though Nick Cushing may have slightly ruing his sides luck in the opening half, as they could easily have been five up at the break. Kosovare Asllani then brought a save from the Russian keeper mid way through the second half, after a neat little turn and shot saw the Swedish star having her shot comfortably dealt with. City then had a shout for a penalty turned down by the Danish match official, when her Scandinavian neighbour in Asllani had her her legs taken away from her, but the referee waved play on.
More pressure came from the home side as they looked to cash in on their domination of the match and saw Keira Walsh having a rare effort on target, that was comfortably caught by the goalie and seemed to be a one Woman team in truth. Jill Scott then came agonisingly close to making it 2-0 for the host, after a little through ball by Duggan saw Scott lifting it over the keepers outstretched arm from a tight angle and saw the ball coming back off the inside of the far post to deny the home side a second goal that they really deserved.
Steph Houghton and Keira Walsh celebrate with goalscorer Lucy Bronze after she makes it 2-0 Pic: ManCity.com
Finally the pressure told and Player of the Match Lucy Bronze bagged a goal with a well taken volley in the 90th minute to see the Blues win 2-0 and look set to progress next week if they play anything close to how they played on this night.