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Manchester City vs Real Madrid Femenino at Academy Stadium

Academy Stadium Referee : Riem Hussein
8th September 2021 7:00 PM (BST)
  • 0 Manchester City

  • 1 Real Madrid Femenino

    • ‘44' Claudia Zornoza


Commentary By George Kelsey


Adios 👋

That's all from me.

A disappointing night for City, as we crash out of the UEFA Women's Champions League, but we'll bounce back from this.

Thanks once again for your company, let's focus back on the league and try and make this a season to remember!

Come on, City  💙 


Taylor on motivation for Spurs 🗣

"Yeah it was mentioned to the girls.

"When you have difficult moments it’s hard to take in any conversation from myself but that was in my thoughts.

"We had good moments and these are the moments we need to take.

"We need to make sure we get a good rest, bounce back on Sunday and get three points."


Taylor on domestic focus 🗣

"We need to look at it that way.

"That’s the big disappointment, we hoped to be in this competition and felt we did enough to be in it but we were put into a tough qualification process.

"Now we face not being in Europe so we have to focus on the domestic competitions now for sure.

"We need to use it as fuel for the rest of the season. We’re in a situation where we’re looking at domestic competitions and need to make sure we perform well in those."


Taylor on performance 🗣

"First half I felt we were off the pace a bit. There were quite a lot of second balls we didn't win and we were re a bit timid in our challenges.

"We played some okay stuff but conceded an unnecessary opportunity. 

"We dominated the second half but needed to be more clinical."


Taylor reaction on the way 🗣

The City boss has just finished speaking pitch-side to, and is now making his way up to the press conference.

Plenty of post-match reaction on the way...


City support 👏

The players are all visibly dejected, but still make their way over to the fans to show their appreciation.

That gesture is reciprocated by the supporters, who clap them off the pitch.



City's European dream is over at the Round Two stage.

Claudia Zornoza's first half strike is enough to see Madrid into the Group Stages.

The players are given a round of applause for their efforts, but it's a bitter pill to swallow.

Onto Sunday's WSL clash with Tottenham, as we refocus on our tilt for the title.


So close

Another corner sees City almost equalise...

It's Coombs again at the back post, but the flick on is too strong for her to make contact.


Yellow card

Lauren Hemp is seemingly sandwiched between two Madrid defenders, but referee Riem Hussein waves away the protests.

Our winger is visibly frustrated with the lack of decision, and says something to the official, who then books her for dissent.



Laura Coombs is inches from the equaliser!

A corner is flicked on by White to the back post, with the midfielder stretching to divert her effort on target.

It's to no avail, as she can't quite readjust her body in time to poke home that elusive leveller.


Stephing up to the plate

Weir's looping ball looks destined for the head of Houghton, who is incensed with referee Riem Hussein, believing she was pushed in the back as she went to jump.

The offside flag is up anyway.


Penalty box pinball

A flurry of City chances!

First Stanway gets in behind and slides a dangerous ball across goal - with the cross finding Hemp on the left.

Hemp's effort is blocked but City recycle the play and clip a dangerous ball into the near post.

White beats Maria Rodriguez Rivero to it, but her effort is agonisingly cleared off the line by Peter.

A glimmer of hope as we approach the final ten...


City chance

The City fans are doing everything they can to gee up the players as we approach the final stages.

And it seems to be having an effect...

Hemp cuts a ball back into the near-post, which is met by White, but she can't hook her foot around the effort enough to trouble the goal.


Final 20 approaching...

Lauren Hemp slaloms her way through a number of challenges, but is eventually crowded out just outside the area.

Esme Morgan is then penalised for a late challenge by referee Riem Hussein.

Things aren't quite falling for City at the moment.


City chance!

Off the bar from Raso!

The winger threatens once again from the right, smacking an effort off the top of the Real Madrid bar after finding a pocket of space inside the box.

City are piling on the pressure...


Madrid Chance

Las Blancas play the set piece short and an absolute thunderbolt from Zornoza Sanchez whistles just wide of the post.

Taieb looked a lot more comfortable with that one than we did here in the press box... but then again she is a professional whereas I post barely relevant gifs for a living.


Yellow card

Esme Morgan is cautioned for a late challenge on Athenea del Castillo around 30 yards from goal.

The visitors bring bodies forward in search of a crucial second...


Under pressure

That chance has put a spring in City's step, but it's that final ball that's letting us down at the moment.

The Madrid defence is holding firm for the moment, intercepting a number of dangerous balls in behind.

This time it's Peter who clears a Raso cross with a towering header.


Fine margins


Real Madrid goalkeeper Maria Rodriguez Rivero's got away with one there!

She passes the ball right into the path of White, who is all of eight yards out from goal.

The forward squares it to Weir as the Madrid stopper races towards her, but the midfielder can't get onto the pass.

Agonisingly close for City.



Ellen White looks like she's in the mood.

Great work down the left from Stokes and Hemp, with the latter whipping a dangerous ball in to the near post.

Like any good centre-forward, White gambles on the cross, but is inches from making a clean contact.


Tails up

Demi Stokes battles for possession with Claudia Zornoza down the City left, and manages to forces the ball out for a throw in.

The fans show their appreciation for our defender's commitment.

City certainly aren't behind through want of trying, and we've started the half with a spring in our step.


Don't Worry 👏

Bob Marley's Three Little Birds rings out at the Academy Stadium as the players come back out for the second half.

I assume Gareth Taylor's half-time team talk was slightly more technical than "don't worry about a thing, because every little thing is going to be alright" but the notion still rings true I suppose...


The Goat 🐐

Shaun Goater is in attendance at tonight's game, and has a chat with stadium announcer Ellen Ellard.

He's backing City to turn this around...

"I'm going City 2-1. With the amount of possession we've had, if one of those final passes or crosses finds their target, we'll be clinical enough to put things away!"

The Goat has spoken  💪 



Madrid go in a goal to the good at the break, after Claudia Zornoza's late strike.

City have enjoyed the majority of the play, but haven't been able to carve out any clear cut chances, while the visitors have always looked a threat on the counter.

But there's still plenty of time for us to turn things around 💪 


City 0-1 Real Madrid

The visitors take the lead.

Taieb makes a fantastic save to tip Kenti Robles' drive over the bar, but Madrid get their noses in front from the preceding corner.

The ball falls to Claudia Zornoza at the far post, who finds a gap between a crowd of bodies.


Safe hands 🙌

Karima Taieb is out like a light to smother Rodriguez Herrero's ball in behind before Esther can pounce.

At the other end, Shaw gets on the end of a searching cross from Hemp, but is flagged for offside as her header flashes wide.



Hayley Raso wins a free-kick right on the byline, with Madrid protests towards referee Riem Hussein falling on deaf ears.

Caroline Weir smacks a ferocious cross into the box, and while Losada's header floats aimlessly wide, she's lucky that her head is still connected to her shoulders after meeting that absolute missile flush in the face.



Madrid have the ball in the net, but it's flagged for offside.

It's a great finish from Nahikari Garcia, but the forward's run in behind is slightly too early.

A warning shot for City!


Sky high ✈️

Athenea del Castillo has looked a threat for Las Blancas so far, and she forces Morgan into a timely block after cutting in on her right foot.

The ball bounces into the path of Kaci on the edge of the box, but her effort is high and wide.


Knocking on the door 🚪

Another break down the right, this time from Esme Morgan, presents City with another half chance.

The defender whips a ball in to the near-post, with Shaw feinting to shoot before selling her marker for a dummy.

But the visitors survive, with Andres Sanze is on hand to clear the danger before anyone could pounce.



A swift counter from City ends with Raso racing in down the right.

She looks to find Shaw with a driven ball into the box, but the forward can't quite stretch far enough to make contact.

A strong showing in the past 10 minutes from Gareth Taylor's side!


Hop to it 🐇

Bunny gets her first real feel of the ball so far after Laura Coombs finds her with her back to goal on half way.

The Jamaican turns and powers her way towards goal, before eventually being crowded out by a number of Madrid defenders.

A signal of intent from our forward...


Hey Vicky ⚡️

Demi Stokes releases Losada through the middle again, but the midfielder is fouled before she can race towards goal.

Our new no.17 is enjoying a lot of freedom to get forward so far, and she's making the most of it.


Madrid Chance

Another corner, another chance - but this time at the other end!

The ball ricochets off Hemp at the far post, landing into the path of Kaci, but her effort is blocked by a crowd of bodies.

City counter, but Hemp runs out of room to cause any trouble.

It's like a basketball game at the moment!



Steph Houghton rises highest from Losada's corner, but her header flashes just wide of the far post.

A bright spell from City as we approach 15 minutes...



Losada and Raso link up well down the right, with the latter clipping a ball into the back post towards Hemp.

Kenti Robles clears behind for a corner, but this presents City with a good chance to go ahead...


Even stevens ⚖️

Both sides seem willing to get the measure out of each other in these early stages, as City knock the ball about the back.

A loose pass releases Losada, but her ball in behind to Raso is intercepted by Babett Peter.


Sharp touch

Vicky Losada plucks the ball out of the air around 35 yards from goal and feeds Lauren Hemp, but the winger's stopped in her tracks before she can cause any damage.

City looking to hit the flanks wherever possible so far.


Bright start ⭐️


Athenea del Castillo tries her luck down the wing, but is dispossessed by Hayley Raso.

The Australian's challenge gets a huge round of applause from the supporters.

City getting a good feel of the ball so far...


Oh Captain my Captain

The two sets of captain share a fist bump ahead of kick-off, before the two teams swap sides.

Not something you see a lot now - nice to know the old ways haven't disappeared...


Standing ovation

Out come the players, with a rapturous applause from here at the Academy Stadium.

The players line-up facing the fans, and show their appreciation with a clap and a wave.

A rendition of 'We love you City, we do' rings out as the players get ready.

Here we go...


Warm reception 👏

City's line-up is announced by new stadium announcer, Ellen Ellard, with each player given a huge round of applause ahead of kick-off.

There's a particularly warm welcome for our new signings Hayley Raso, Vicky Losada and Khadija 'Bunny' Shaw - as well as a lovely little drumbeat to follow each name!

It's safe to say that the atmosphere is well and truly building...


Building up 🧱️

The players go back down the tunnel to get ready for kick-off, which is in just over ten minutes.

And, right on cue, on come the sprinklers to make sure the ball has a nice zip on the turf.

The temptation to dive in front of one of the sprinklers and have a quick cold shower to escape this heat is incredibly strong...


How to tune in 📺

A reminder that tonight's match is available to watch live on CITY+.

You can tune in from 18:55pm (UK), and follow match commentary with a subscription.

Signing up costs £1.99 per month, and also grants access to full-match replays of all Men’s, Women’s EDS and Academy fixtures, as well as broadcasts of selected live matches.

You can also watch original documentaries, including the recent Together film and Kevin De Bruyne: Made in Belgium.

More information is available here.


Warm-ups in full swing

The team take part in some pre-match rondos to test the touch, while Karima Taieb and Khiara Keating practice claiming crosses.

It's all heating up ahead of kick-off, as Oasis 'Roll With It' blares out of the tannoy at the Academy Stadium.

It's like we've never been away!


Away? No way ❌

Another big change to this season’s competition concerns the away goals rule – namely the fact that there isn’t one anymore.

It’s a straight shootout over two legs in Round Two of the UEFA Women’s Champions League, and it’ll be the same should we reach the last eight or the semi-finals.

Should the match finish level on aggregate tonight, then City and Las Blancas will go into 30 minutes of extra time and, if needed, penalties to see who will progress.

How are your nerves? 😬 


Format explained 🏆

Want to know what happens if we win tonight? I’ll tell you anyway…

Should we get the better of Real Madrid, then City will enter the inaugural UEFA Women’s Champions League group stages, which replace the old round of 16.

The top two in each of the four groups will progress to the quarter-finals, the round that Gareth Taylor’s side reached last season.


Laura Coombs on Real Madrid 🔷

"Going into tomorrow we are in a much better place than we were this time last week. We have had a lot more time together now, probably more time in the last week than we had previously.

"We know what they are going to bring, the pressure they bring. I just think we are better prepared for it this week.

"We were all pretty disappointed last week, especially after conceding so late on, but I think on reflection, when we considered the lack of pre-season and the lack of time with the new signings, it wasn’t the worst result in the world.

"Last week they really brought the game to us at times and I fully expect them to do the same tomorrow because it’s the Champions League and they really have to go for it to progress.

"We are expecting a really tough test. Obviously we are feeling good after Saturday, but I still think we will have to be at the top of our game."


Steph Houghton on Real Madrid 🗣

“To have gone to Madrid and played some of the football we did was encouraging.

“We showed glimpses of what we can do, although we were gutted not to have come away with the win after conceding in the last minute.

“Some players had only had six or seven days of preparation so we had to be realistic in terms of where we were compared to where we want to be.”


Ellen White on Real Madrid 💪

"It’s exciting. I’ve never faced Real Madrid. They’re a new team - similar to United’s women’s team in that they’re a big name with a new team in women’s football. We really respect them as a team.

"It’s a big one for us. Wave got the chance to play them here at the Academy Stadium, where we feel really confident. We’ve had another game under out belts as well.

"We are looking forward to it. It’s massive for us. We had disappointment last year in the Champions League. It’s something that will definitely fire us up to do well."


Familiar face 👋

The keen-eyed amongst you might have noticed Kosovare Asllani on the bench for Las Blancas.

The Swedish international, fresh from helping her nation to a silver medal at this summer’s Olympic games, returns to the side after having to isolate for the first leg.

The forward was part of our 2016 WSL title-winning side having joined City in January, and also helped us to lift the FA Cup the following year.

Welcome back to Manchester, Kosovare!


Turning up the heat 🔥

It seems Madrid have brought the weather over the English Channel with them - the sun is beating down here at the Academy Stadium as we approach kick-off in around one hour's time.

The conditions were similar in the first leg, so it shouldn't pose too much of a concern for Gareth Taylor's side this evening.

It's a big concern for yours truly though, who not only forgot his sun glasses as he left the house today, but also for some horrendous reason decided on black jeans for today's attire  🤦‍♂️ 


Gareth Taylor on tonight's match 🗣

“It’s very even. Obviously, with the away goals being dropped now it is completely even.

“In terms of importance, it is massively important. We probably brought out the toughest tie we could have. We are aware of that.

“We have got a good result under our belts. I think we will be in a better place when we start.”


Hemp on the hunt 💪

Gareth Taylor makes one change from our Women’s Super League triumph over Everton, with Lauren Hemp brought in at the expense of Janine Beckie, who drops to the bench.

That means there’s home debuts for Vicky Losada, Hayley Raso and Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw, while Ruby Mace and Alanna Kennedy could also make their Academy Stadium bows from the bench.

Ellen White and Georgia Stanway are both named among the substitutes as they continue their recovery from respective injuries.


City big screen 🗣

The return of fans to the Academy Stadium also means the long-awaited return of the City Big Screen!

If you want to send a message of support to the team, show how you’ll be cheering them on, and have your say on how things are going at half-time and full-time, be sure to use #CityBigScreen on social media!


How to tune in 📺

Like the first leg, tonight’s game will be shown live on CITY+. In fact, CITY+ is the only place you can tune in around the world. Check out if your country is showing the match via our global TV listings.

A CITY+ subscription costs £1.99 per month while also granting access to full-match replays of all Men’s Women’s, EDS and Academy fixtures, as well as original documentaries and selected live broadcasts.


Hola 👋

And welcome to our Matchday Centre ahead of what is guaranteed to be a huge match in our 2021-22 campaign.

Manchester City welcome Real Madrid to the Academy Stadium for the second leg of our UEFA Women's Champions League Round Two showdown, with a spot in the Group Stages up for grabs!

If that wasn't enough to whet your appetite, then the fact that the tie is finely poised at 1-1 from our clash in Madrid last week should get you in the matchday mood.

And if you needed tipping over the edge, then remember that tonight's game represents our first home match in front of fans for over 18 months!

Stay tuned for team news in around 15 minutes, plus plenty of build-up at a scorching Academy Stadium ahead of kick-off at 19:00pm (UK).


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