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Manchester City vs Fiorentina Femminile at Academy Stadium

Academy Stadium Referee : Monika Mularczyk
3rd March 2021 4:45 PM (GMT)
  • 3 Manchester City

    • ‘2' Lauren Hemp
    • ‘4' Ellen White
    • ‘89' Samantha Mewis
  • 0 Fiorentina Femminile


Commentary By Caroline Oatway


Ciao! ๐Ÿ‘‹

Well, that's all from me.

As always, it's been a pleasure to cover tonight's game. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

Stay tuned to for more post-match reaction.

Until next time...


Taylor (on Chloe Kelly) ๐Ÿ’ฌ

"I think if you look at when she first came to us to now, youโ€™ve seen a big improvement particular in her decision making and sheโ€™s contributing a lot to the team.

"There's still a lot of room for improvement but sheโ€™s very coachable, she wants to learn and improve. I love her attitude to want to get better and do well for the team. Sheโ€™s a real team player. 

"On the pitch she's a street fighter! She doesnโ€™t get bullied off the ball and I love that about her. 

"That growth mindset means thereโ€™s no limit to how far she can go."


Taylor (on scoring the third goal) ๐Ÿ’ฌ

"I think it was an important goal. I always feel like weโ€™re likely to score.

"I was even saying beforehand I think itโ€™s really important.

"I thought at times, we forced the play a little bit and came off the hymn sheet a touch.

"We always want more, we always look for areas to build on but to be 3-0 winners in the Champions League is a real positive."


Gareth Taylor (on having Lauren Hemp back) ๐Ÿ’ฌ

"We always knew Lauren would be a big loss for us. So it was like getting a new player. 

"We had to manage her in the right way and sheโ€™s made a big impact.

" Sheโ€™s contributed like the players are, scoring goals, providing goals. To be fair to them theyโ€™re doing it on a regular basis."


White ๐Ÿ’ฌ

"Iโ€™m pretty privileged to be in the middle of so many talented players. 

"Both Chloe Kelly and Lauren Hemp are coming into form and I feel like weโ€™re building a great relationship. 

"Itโ€™s a dream to get those balls across. I'm delighted to be part of that frontline. 

"I'm surrounded by very talented individuals and a talented team.

"We're scoring goals from everywhere around the pitch, which is great - really positive."


White ๐Ÿ’ฌ

"Part of the reason I came to City was to play in the Champions League. It's one of the greatest competitions.

"It's not over - we're halfway there in this round. We're all focusing on next week.

"We're delighted with three goals and a clean sheet.

"We're in a really great position but we don't get too ahead of ourselves."


Ellen White ๐Ÿ’ฌ

"Before the game, if you'd have said we'd come away with a 3-0 win to take over there, we would have taken it.

"At times, we were a little sloppy - we could have been more patient.

"I'm really happy to have been on the scoresheet to help the team.

"It's something we're looking to build on."



And there we have it!

City 3-0 Fiorentina.

First half goals from Hemp and White and a late Mewis header earn a strong advantage to take over to Italy next week!

Job is halfway done... and in some style.

A thoroughly dominant performance, gained with a rapid and ruthless opening.


Three minutes to go... โŒš

Could be a big goal, that - potentially killing the tie as a contest.

Her ninth goal in 20 appearances. What a signing she's been!


GET IN! ๐Ÿ˜

Well, she marked her Champions League debut with a goal and now she has another one!

Never in doubt really, as Kelly clipped a delivery to the backpost where the World Cup winner smashed a header into the back of the net.


Switching it up ๐Ÿ”„

Lavelle and Kelly have switched wings.

Kelly hasn't quite had the impact in the second half she'd had in the first.

Perhaps she'll fare better back on the right?


Rose gold ๐ŸŒน

Good to see Rose Lavelle gaining plenty of touches on the ball.

Her City career so far has been somewhat hampered by injury but hopefully, in the coming weeks, we'll get to see the form that earned her the USA's MVP award in the SheBelieves Cup.


Ten minutes to go... โŒš

City in control with a comfortable lead...

But a Fiorentina goal would change everything.

Need to keep switched on...


Second chance... just wide! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

Another free-kick is awarded about ten yards behind the first.

Houghton gets this one around the wall but it bounces wide of the near post.


One for the skipper? ๐Ÿ‘€

Free-kick for City just outside the area for Neto's challenge on Mewis.

She's booked for the foul.

Definitely in Houghton territory, this...


Close ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Stanway was unfortunate not to add a third a moment ago. She couldn't quite get the connection she wanted on her header.

Schroffenegger scoops the ball up.


Tactical switch ๐Ÿค”

Kelly has moved over to the left in Hemp's place, with Lavelle occupying the right flank.

Stanway has also moved to the left side of centre midfield with Mewis next to her on the right.

Morgan has gone to left-back with Greenwood moving into central defence.


Easy does it ๐Ÿ‘

Game has slowed a tad in recent minutes.

The second half has been more of an even contest.

City still enjoying the majority of possession but finding it harder to create chances as yet.

Patience is important. We're in a good position - just control it.


Night is falling ๐ŸŒ™

Dusk is settling in Manchester, creating an atmospheric glow around the stadium.

There really is something about nights under the lights....


Oooft ๐Ÿ˜

Great chance for Thorgersen as she drives forward again - but she can't keep her shot down.

That would have made things interesting... and uncomfortable.

She's dangerous on the break.


Leading by example ๐Ÿ’™

Steph Houghton, making her 199th appearance for the Club tonight, stepping up as ever.

We're in control of the early exchanges in the second half but she's still demanding the best - from herself and all around her.

Needless to say, we can't wait to have fans back into stadiums - but this experience of empty grounds gives a fascinating insight into the on-pitch and touchline communications.


Fiorentina change ๐Ÿ”„

Enforced half-time substitution for the visitors, as Clelland replaces the injured Baldi.

Wishing her a speedy recovery.



That's the break!

City lead Fiorentina, thanks to that quickfire start with two goals inside the first four minutes!

Hemp opened the scoring before White doubled the lead instantly - and City have been well on top since.

Ruthless and wholly dominant. A superb display.


Ouch โ˜น

Brief stoppage in play for a clash of heads on the halfway line.

Houghton is down for City - and we know she doesn't go down easily!

Baldi looks in some discomfort. She's sadly being helped off... Hope she's okay.

Our skipper is back up thankfully.


Yellow card ๐ŸŸจ

Dahlkemper receives a booking on her European debut, after Vigilucci went to ground.

Free-kick for the visitors in a dangerous position...


A warning โš 

Positive run by Thorgersen almost carves Fiorentina's first chance.

She had the pace to beat Hemp and Greenwood (an impressive feat!) but thankfully, we were able to clear the cross.


Special K ๐Ÿ˜

This is an absolute masterclass by Chloe Kelly.

She's creating something *every* time she has the ball. The Fiorentina defenders can't handle her!


What a chance! ๐Ÿ˜ฉ

Should have been a third as Kelly's delivery finds Hemp a matter of yards out - but the powerful cross hits her and bounces wide!


Cool Coombs โ„

So good to see Coombsy impressing here tonight.

Having not gained many minutes in her maiden campaign in sky blue, she could be forgiven for thinking her City career may not work out as she'd hoped - but she's knuckled down and shown Taylor what she can do.

She hit a great run of form around November time and now she's loving life playing Champions League football.

Squad rotation was always going to be important of course but she's shown what a positive mindset and hard work can achieve.


Driving the standards ๐Ÿ™Œ

Kelly may already have an assist to her name tonight but manager Taylor wants more.

She's just (uncharacteristically) blazed a cross over the bar and out of play and the boss has let her know about it.

2-0 up and more than comfortable but those standards need to be maintained. That's what takes you to the next level.


Safe hands ๐Ÿงค

Roebuck is called into action for the first time to cease the danger as Fiorentina win their first corner.

The shot-stopper is alert to gather a whipped delivery after the ball was only half-cleared.


Over the bar โฌ†

Kelly looks to make it a hat-trick for the front three but her effort is wayward.

Will be interesting to see the shot stats after this game. We're peppering that Fiorentina goal!



It doesn't seem as though City were suffering with any nerves from that start but if there were any, that will definitely settle them!

Already looks a mountain for Fiorentina to climb with City in such control of this. The visitors can't get the ball!


I mean... ๐Ÿคฏ

It's all well and good scoring two goals in the first dive minutes but think of the poor journalists, trying to cover this.

I was still typing up the first goal when the second went in!


Aaaaand breathe.

What a start. I mean, what a start. Two goals inside the opening four minutes - and it could have been more if not for Fiorentina shot-stopper Schroffenegger, who does well to deny Weir and White.


My word!

Beautifully worked, as Weir feeds Hemp down the left flank and the youngster adds an assist to her goal, crossing for White at the front post...

And England's all-time leading World Cup goalscorer steers into the top corner!


Well, how about that?!

What was that - 90 seconds gone?! And we lead!

Superb from Kelly who tricked her way into a crossing position before clipping a beautiful delivery into the path of Hemp, who powered a header into the back of the net!




Pennants exchanged, huddles complete...

The two teams take the knee in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

And we are under way! COME ON, CITY!!!


Here we go! ๐Ÿ™Œ

Out come the two teams - Fiorentina first, followed by the hosts, City.

The visitors sporting their traditional full purple, while the home side of course are in our beloved blue and white.

Pennants will be exchanged as per tradition before we get under way...


Gareth Taylor ๐Ÿ’ฌ

"It's felt like a long time since we played in Europe. Everyone's really excited about tonight's game.

"An Italian side, you expect it to be difficult and for them to manage the game properly and make it difficult for us. But as long as we stay calm, hopefully we can go to Italy with a couple of goals.

"We have to believe but we also know it's so tough, especially to break the cycle Lyon have put together. There's a lot of great teams in there, we're one of them. We have to take it game by game and focus on tonight's game."


Unfamiliar foe ๐Ÿค”

A new challenge tonight in Fiorentina - we've never faced Italian opposition before.

According to Steph Houghton (quoted in her programme notes), they're similar to us in that they like to have possession of the ball, whilst looking to make life difficult for the opposition.

Of course, European competition is a different format in that there are the two legs and the away goals... The job is rarely complete in the first leg.

Something to be mindful of but I'm sure Gareth Taylor will be keen for his side to gain as strong an advantage as possible tonight, gaining a potentially crucial clean sheet.


No excuses โœ–

Ellie Roebuck says there is no reason why City canโ€™t mount a serious challenge in this seasonโ€™s Champions League.

โ€œAs a club, itโ€™s the competition we want to progress in and get better in,โ€ she said.

โ€œIn the first few years, we reached the semi-finals, which was a good achievement, but we havenโ€™t done anything since.

โ€œWe should rightfully try and progress in that tournament and with the players we have and the girls weโ€™ve brought in this year, thereโ€™s no reason why we canโ€™t.

โ€œLucy Bronze and Alex Greenwood have had a taste of winning it. They know what it takes.

โ€œItโ€™s nice that they can bring that experience and contribute from that point of view.

โ€œI have no idea what it feels like to play in the latter stages of the tournament but we can take all of those experiences and hopefully, that will help us."


Shooting practice ๐ŸŽฏ

While the defenders practice their aerial control and long-range passes, it's target practice for the forwards.

Volleys at the moment - and there have been some belters.

Caroline Weir told after her sensational Derby chip that she practices them on the training pitch and in the warm-up... wonder if we'll see another one?!


Young stars ๐ŸŒŸ

Amongst the substitutes tonight: goalkeeper Khiara Keating, as well as fellow Academy star Millie Davies.

Davies has made four appearances for the first-team this campaign, while several of the youngsters have been training regularly with the squad.

Imagine being a teenager and being sat on the bench alongside Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis!

Great to see Keira Walsh named in the matchday squad too, after she missed Sunday's win through injury.

Karima Taeib, Aoife Mannion, Janine Beckie and Esme Morgan complete the substitutes line-up.


European dreams ๐Ÿ’™

Chloe Kelly says she still has to pinch herself when she steps out onto the pitch in the Champions League.

The 23-year-old โ€“ a summer signing from Everton โ€“ has enjoyed an excellent start to her City career, netting nine goals in 23 appearances, crafting nine assists in league action alone and lifting the FA Cup.

Having made her European debut in Decemberโ€™s away win at Gรถteborg FC, the youngster is now readying herself for another appearance in the competition...

Though the winger admits she cannot wait, she asserts she and her teammates must not be swayed by the excitement or emotion of the occasion.

โ€œThe Champions League is what dreams are made of,โ€ she said.

โ€œI was watching games on the TV and now, to be part of it is unbelievable โ€“ but we canโ€™t be caught up in it.

โ€œChampions League nights feel special but you can worry too much. Itโ€™s just another game of footballโ€ฆ and we want to get the job done.

โ€œItโ€™s another gam we want to go and win. Weโ€™re in a good moment at the moment but every game feels the same.

โ€œitโ€™s an opportunity to go out there and show what weโ€™re capable of on the big stage, which is exciting.

โ€œItโ€™s a good opportunity to see where weโ€™re at in Europe and test ourselves against the best players. Thatโ€™s what we try to do week in, week out."


Uh-oh! ๐Ÿ™ˆ

Poor Gaz!

Just as he was conducting his pre-match interviews, he was attacked by the sprinklers!

He may be used to the Manchester rain but he wasn't expecting that!



Both teams out on the pitch now, underdoing stretches and limbering the joints!

It's been a lovely day in Manchester today but the temperature is slightly dropping as we draw into the evening...

Keep your messages of support coming in, using #CityBigScreen. They're being shown while the players warm-up - they can see them!


You can also hear more from Tessel (plus Gareth Taylor, Steph Houghton, Sam Mewis, Georgia Stanway and more!) in our matchday programme! ๐Ÿ“˜


Tess Middag, Middag! ๐Ÿ‘‹

A familiar face in the Fiorentina starting line-up: Dutch midfielder Tessel Middag.

Signed in the mid-season break in June 2016, Middag won two trophies in her first four months at City!

Sadly, her career in sky blue was hampered by a long-term injury but the 28-year-old still holds very fond memories of her time in Manchester...


Team news and tactics โšฝ

Gareth Taylor opts to make two changes to the side that defeated Birmingham on Sunday, as Abby Dahlkemper comes in for her Champions League debut (in place of Esme Morgan) and Georgia Stanway replaces Sam Mewis.

Ellie Roebuck takes her place in goal, shielded by a backline of Alex Greenwood, Dahlkemper, Steph Houghton and Lucy Bronze, while Laura Coombs protects the back four in defensive midfield.

Caroline Weir and Stanway occupy the central midfield roles, flanked by Lauren Hemp and Chloe Kelly with Ellen White leading the line upfront.


Gareth Taylor ๐Ÿ’ฌ

โ€œThere are a lot of really good teams at this stage โ€“ the last 16.

โ€œItโ€™s a good opportunity for us to progress. We know theyโ€™re a difficult team to play against.

โ€œItโ€™s not over after the first leg. We wonโ€™t look further than that โ€“ you canโ€™t in this competition. You can make the mistake of not performing on the day.

โ€œWe have to focus on this game and then the second game and make sure we progress, giving ourselves the best chance."


Form guide ๐Ÿ“ˆ

City return to European action in superb form, having won each of our last eight FA Women's Super League matches, the latest being an impressive 4-0 win at Birmingham on Sunday.

We secured our passage through to the last 16 of the UEFA Womenโ€™s Champions League thanks to a 5-1 aggregate victory over Goteborg FC in the round of 32 in December.

Fiorentina will be hoping to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.

The Italian side eliminated Slavia Prague 3-2 on aggregate in the Round of 32, thanks to Daniele Sabatino's late strike.

In the Womenโ€™s Serie A, Fiorentina had been on an impressive run of form and had been unbeaten in the league during 2021 before succumbing to a 2-0 defeat against Florentia at the weekend.


Early team news ๐Ÿ“‹

City have received a boost with the news Janine Beckie is back in contention.

The Canada star missed Sundayโ€™s 4-0 win over Birmingham with fatigue and a slight calf strain, following the SheBelieves Cup, but the boss revealed she will be available for the midweek Round of 16 first leg clash.

Taylor also explained he has no new injury concerns with Keira Walsh, Demi Stokes and Gemma Bonner still doubtful as they recover from injury.

This afternoon's starting XI will be revealed at 15:30 UK time...


How to tune in ๐Ÿ“บ

The match will be available to watch live to CITY+ subscribers* while the action is also being screened by BT Sport. You can also keep up to date with all the action via our twitter: @ManCityWomen.

Available across all digital platforms -, Man City app and Smart TV, CITY+ provides Cityzens with unrivalled access to new and exclusive City content.

It will allow you to watch full match replays of all menโ€™s and womenโ€™s matches 24 hours after the final whistle and original CityTV productions, such as the recently released Kevin De Bruyne documentary, Made in Belgium.

You can sign up to a 30-day free trial, after which CITY+ is just ยฃ1.99GBP / month.

Find out more and sign up, here.

Following the final whistle, a comprehensive report on proceedings, plus reaction from manager Gareth Taylor and a player will also be available to read on and our official app.

*Excluding Israel, Australia and Mexico.


It's matchday! โšฝ

A very good afternoon from the City Football Academy (or morning, or evening, or night - depending on wherever you are in the world!)

The Champions League is BACK!

City host Fiorentina in the Round of 16 first leg in a 16:45 (UK time) kick-off at the Academy Stadium, looking to gain a strong advantage to take over to Italy next week.

We'll have all of the pre-match build-up, live coverage and post-match reaction from our European clash right here in the Matchday Centre.

As ever, we'd love for you to get in touch. Share your thoughts on the game on Twitter, using #cmoncity!