Zvezda Perm 05 0 – 4 Manchester City Women
After last weeks comfortable victory in the first leg of the Women’s Champions League at the Academy Stadium back home in Manchester, it saw the Blues taking their 2-0 lead to Russia on what was a bitterly cold Wednesday night. With the weather being almost ‘Manchester like’ in condition, it saw City proving to be too hot to handle for their hosts and put in arguably their best away performance of the season with a stunning 4-0 win in the Russians own backyard. The defeat was the first time that Zvezda Perm 05 had suffered a home loss since 2009, when German club Duisburg beat them in the the two-legged Final.
Zvezda as you would expect, started the brightly of the two sides as they looked to try and get an early goal to unsettle their opponents. Anastasia Pozdeeva forced a save out of Karen Bardsley in the City goal, and was possibly Zvezda’s first meaningful effort in the tie at the moment in time. City then began to make inroads in the game and took control, with Izzy Christiansen having the first chance for the visitors as Iryna Zvarich in the Russians goal made a save from her. The Citizens then broke the deadlock with a Jennifer Beattie volley that came from a Kosovare Asllani corner and had the Scottish defender putting City in front after 22 minutes of play and lead 3-0 on aggregate.
From one Scottish International to another, as Beattie’s Scotland team-mate in Jane Ross had her thinking she had score, but could only see her effort hitting the post and denying her a Champions League goal, as the away side was well and truly on top in the contest and bossing play. City then went two goals to the good in the 32nd minute of play courtesy of a Lucy Bronze goal, after the goalkeeper could only parry the ball from another Asllani corner kick and Bronze was on hand to turn it in for her second goal in the competition and have the tie effectively sewn up before the half.
The Blues were never in any danger of slipping up in the tie, and that was despite a rally by the home that started the second half off where they struck the woodwork through a Daryna Apananschenko effort and the visitors managed to regain their control. It did seem like the Russian side had exhausted all ideas in the opening ten minutes of the second half and from that point onwards it was just City controlling the game at will.
Any worries that the visitors had of possibly letting their opponents back into the game while being so dominant were quickly answered, when firstly Jennifer Beattie scored her second of the game in the 53rd minute to make 3-0. Lucy Bronze then showed her attack threat again much like she shown in the first leg in Manchester, as the England International squared a ball back for Izzy Christiansen to just tap the ball home into an unguarded net for 4-0 and see Manchester City Women easing through to the next round.
City Women victors coming off the pitch Pic: Mancity.com
On the whole, the tie was seen to be one of the toughest opponents in the draw and was expected to test City prior to the two games being played out. If anything it was arguably the two most comfortable performances that the club have encountered this entire season, and that includes facing a couple of the WSL 2 teams with all due respect to them.
The win completed a dream debut for the recently crowned English League champions and they can now look to hopefully progress as far as they can in the tournament. A few days later it was announced that City would take on Danish side Brøndby IF in the round of 16 and have the Blues once again hosting the first leg in early November.