Fortuna Hjørring 0-1 Manchester City Women
A Carli Lloyd header in the first half was enough to give Manchester City Women a 1-0 lead over Danish side Fortuna Hjørring in the first leg of their Women’s Champions League Quarter-Final clash on what was a bitterly cold night in Hjørring’s Bredbånd Nord Arena on Thursday.
City dominated the match with recent signings Melissa Lawley and Carli Lloyd both causing problems for the hosts, with Fortuna unable to deal with the pace and play on the opening forty-five minutes.
Lloyd shown just why she is a two-time FIFA World Player of the Year with her attacking play and it nearly brought the games opening goal in the 20th minute, when the midfielders well struck shot from close range was kept out by the Fortuna keeper in Marie Christiansen to keep it scoreless after a half dominated by the away side.
Lucy Bronze then had a effort that clipping the bar with a hooked shot on goal and had the visitors very much on the front foot. The visitors took a deserved lead in the 36th minute of the contest, after Jill Scott played a ball out wide for Jane Ross to cross into the box and Carli Lloyd was on hand to head home for 1-0 City lead.
Fortuna who found themselves for the best part of the opening half hour under the cosh from City tried their best to mount any offence against the Blues, instead they were to be snuffed out throughout by City skipper Steph Houghton leading the way alongside her defence who were brilliant all game.
Karen Bardsley had next to nothing to do in the away sides goal, with the temperature plummeting below freezing and saw the only warmth that the hearty brave souls that travelled over from Manchester was getting was their sides red-hot attack.
In the Second half it saw the home side beginning to come to life a bit more without really troubling the away side at all. Bookings became a bit more frequent as the second half with Carli Lloyd, Keira Walsh & Jill Scott all going in the referees notebook alongside five of the Hjørring players too.
Fortuna fired a couple of shots that were missing the target, but there was nothing to suggest that they would trouble their opponents with mostly long range efforts.
City did seemed to tire quicker of the two sides with this Champions League match being only their second match back so far this season, after their victory last weekend at home to Reading in the Women’s F.A Cup. Karen Bardsley was then needed as a cross come shot saw Bardsley needing to tip the ball onto the crossbar as Fortuna almost got a goal out of nothing.
Carli Loyd nearly grabbed a second for the visitors in the 61st minute of play, when Kosvare Asllani put in a low ball into the area and saw the American just dragging her shot wide of the far post and shown that City were still dangerous when given the opportunity.
Lucy Bronze almost made it two for the Blues inside the final ten minutes, when her initial shot was stopped by the keeper but rebound looped up it the air and saw the defender battling with a Hjørring defender to get their first, but Bronze was just unable to divert the ball goal on target while under pressure.
City’s defense was tested a bit late in the day, but the spine of the side in trio Steph Houghton, Abbie McManus and Keira Walsh all proved to be big reasons for the win and put in a shift along with the rest of Nick Cushing’s side on a solid win.
An away win will be taken all day by the Blues in Europe, but they could have easily added more to their scoreline but they will look to seal the tie next Thursday night at the City Academy Stadium in the Second leg.