MANCHESTER CITY WOMEN 2-0 FC BARCELONA FEMENI
Two second-half goals from Melissa Lawley and a late penalty from Nikita Parris helped to seal a 2-0 friendly win for Manchester City Women against European opposition in FC Barcelona Femeni at the Etihad Campus on Sunday night.
Following their 3rd place finish in the International Champions Cup over in the United States a couple of weeks ago, the Blues welcomed the female Catalan side to Manchester for their first-ever meeting between the two sides and also coincided with the return of former City striker Toni Duggan, who made her first appearance against her old side.
It was a game that didn’t see much in the way of too many goalscoring chances for either side, with Jill Scott coming the nearest to anything resembling a chance in the fourth minute of the game, as her shot from outside the box saw Pamela Tajonar in the Barca goal making the grab.
Barcelona was enjoying a lot of possession in the opening twenty minutes of play, but they weren’t able to create anything at all with it, as City’s midfield constantly hounded them throughout. One of City’s three new signings in the summer – namely Caroline Weir, saw the Scottish defender putting in a fizzing free-kick across the face of goal and saw Tjonar pushing it away.
Danish International Nadia Nadim cut a lonely figure in attack for the blues, as her first four touches all resulted in her being offside and with her recent demands of wanting to be transfer listed away from the club, her performance wasn’t exactly one that would have other sides wanting to buy her either.
The visitors had their first chance of the game falling just before the half-hour mark, after a Lieke Martens ball into the area was gathered by Mariona Caldentey and saw the Spanish midfielder blasting her effort wide of the goals.
For most of the first half, it saw the hosts attacking down the Spanish sides right flank and saw Mel Lawley flying up the touchline and causing her opponents problems for a majority of the first half.
Jill Scott picked up the games only booking in the first forty-five when an outstretched leg caught a Barcelona player in the head and saw the referee with no choice but to brandish the yellow card in her direction.
As the half drew to a close, it saw a goalless opening half that didn’t really catch fire in truth and had both sides still trying to feel the other one out as the whistle came around.
Manchester City boss Nick Cushing, then made a couple of changes for the start of the second half, with Nadia Nadim and Jill Scott making way for Keira Walsh and Claire Emslie.
With the arrival of Emslie in the game, it saw her taking over from Mel Lawley in the first half as the player that was giving the Barca defenders nightmares and was having the away side in all sorts of trouble.
With the Catalan side seemingly trying to stop Emslie and the linkup play between Nikita Parris and another new signing in Tessa Wullaert, as City managed to break the deadlock thanks to a Kiera Walsh through ball that set Mel Lawley away and the midfielder beat put past Tajonar for a 1-0 lead in the 75th minute of play.
Toni Duggan had a very quiet return to Manchester as her former teammates all kept her out of the game. Barcelona seemed to lack any real attacking threat in the game, and other than their only chance that saw Karen Bardsley pushing the ball onto her bar they didn’t cause the City back line any problems at all.
The game was put to bed three minutes from time when the home side was awarded a late penalty following a foul on Nikita Parris inside the Barca penalty area. Parris herself took the spot kick and despite the keeper getting a hand to it, she couldn’t keep it from making it 2-0 in the 87th and have City registering a victory.