Manchester City Women tonight cruised into the semi-finals of the UEFA Women’s Champions League after a Lucy Bronze header gave them a 1-0 (2-0 aggregate) win over Danish side Fortuna Hjørring at the Academy Stadium.
Despite being City’s third game in eight days, they started the better of the two sides and nearly took the lead when Jane Ross played a through ball to Jill Scott, who’s low shot was saved well by the Fortuna goalkeeper, Maria Christensen.
As the half progressed, Carli Lloyd showed glimpses of why she is the current women’s player of the year as she danced past the Fortuna defenders but she could not finish the move off in style, dragging her shot just past the post.
City continued to pile on the pressure with chances from Kosovare Asllani and Melissa Lawley, both going wide of the goal.
Fortuna had a strong penalty claim midway through the first half when Caroline Rask’s shot appeared to strike the arm of City captain, Steph Houghton, but the referee waved away any shouts for a spot kick.
The deadlock was eventually broken just before the break when Bronze latched onto a Lawley corner to head the hosts into the lead.
The second half began much the same as the first half finished, with City continuing to dominate play and the first real chance of the half came when the ball fell to Demi Stokes, who smashed the ball into the side netting from inside the box.
Lawley, an off-season signing from Birmingham City Ladies, then almost grabbed a goal of her own but her shot from the edge of the box was not powerful enough to trouble Christensen.
The Danish side’s only chance of the second half came towards the end when Nora Heroum took aim from long range; but City goalkeeper, Karen Bardsley, comfortably watched the ball onto the roof of the net.
A worrying sight for England manager, Mark Sampson, was when Houghton landed awkwardly and consequently appeared to be limping for the remainder of the match.
With Sampson set to name his squad for the upcoming European Championships on Monday, this was a sight he certainly would not have wanted to witness.
Tonight’s win sets up a semi-final tie for City with Olympique Lyonnais Women, where Lloyd will come up against fellow United States international, Alex Morgan.
Manchester City Women: Bardsley, Bronze, Stokes, Houghton, Asllani (Parris 71′), Scott (Middag 66′), Lawley, Ross, McManus, Walsh, Lloyd.
Subs not used: Hourihan, Duggan, Christiansen, Stanway, Roebuck.
Fortuna Hjørring: Christensen, Hyyrynen, Cordia, Rask (Møller 52′), Larsen, Heroum, Spanu, Hansen (Barbosa 52′), Frank (Bruun 73′), Thøgersen, Gewitz.
Subs not used: Pettersen, Ringsing, Conc, Harrison.