Manchester City’s UEFA Women’s Champions League title hopes have been dealt a huge blow with Gareth Taylor’s side having been defeated 3-0 by Barcelona in the first leg of their quarter-final tie in Monza this afternoon.
Asisat Oshoala, Mariona Caldentey and Jennifer Hermoso got the goals as the Spaniards took one step towards the semi-finals.
Barcelona started the match brightly and only a huge save from Manchester City keeper Ellie Roebuck denied Oshoala from opening the scoring inside 15 minutes. The England International was again called into action seven minutes later as she did superbly well to keep an Aitana Bonmati effort out of the net.
At the other end, Caroline Weir forced a save from Barcelona keeper Sandra Panos before Alexia Putellas was twice denied by Roebuck.
Barcelona made their dominance count 10 minutes before the break when Oshoala found the net with a sweet strike before Sam Mewis had a goal chalked off at the other end for offside as City went into the break behind.
It was a tale of two penalties early in the second half. First City’s Demi Stokes fouled Oshoala in the area to hand Barcelona a penalty kick. Mariona stepped up to take the spot kick and successfully converted from 12 yards.
Four minutes later, City were handed a lifeline when Maria Leon fouled Lauren Hemp in the box but Chloe Kelly saw her penalty kept out by Panos.
City pressed forward in search of an away goal as Barcelona happily sat back and soaked up the pressure. Ellen White came closest for the Barclays FA Women’s Super League side but she was denied by Panos.
Barcelona delivered another knockout blow four minutes before the end when Alexia’s shot was saved by Roebuck and Hermoso successfully buried the loose ball to hand her side a huge 3-0 lead.
Taylor’s side now face a monumental task to turn the three-goal deficit around when the two sides meet in the second leg at The Academy Stadium next week.