Manchester City look certain to progress from the last 32 of the Women’s Champions League as they scored five goals in the final 25 minutes to thrash Lugano 7-1 in the first leg.
City kicked off our 2019/20 Women’s Champions League adventure in sensational fashion, storming to a stunning 7-1 win at Lugano.
Braces from Pauline Bremer and Caroline Weir, plus Georgia Stanway’s opener, an Aoife Mannion penalty and a Janine Beckie strike put Nick Cushing’s side in firm control in the Round of 32 first leg clash, as the visitors bagged six goals in a rampant and ruthless second half in Switzerland.
The victory marked City’s biggest in the competition, bettering the 5-0 win at Lillestrom in the 2017/18 Round of 16.
Georgia Stanway gave the English side a 25th-minute lead, but Kaela Dickerman levelled just before half time. Aoife Mannion’s penalty seconds after the restart put City in command.
Two Pauline Bremer goals, two from Caroline Weir and one from Janine Beckie in the closing stages sealed it. City should have been out of sight before last season’s Swiss league runners-up equalised.
Bremer struck the post from close range and just shot wide after rounding the goalkeeper, while Weir hit the crossbar with a long-range effort.
However, a dogged Lugano side, with a strong American contingent, caught City on the break to make it 1-1, and they could even have gone ahead when Sofia Pedrazzini’s shot was deflected over after a poor clearance by goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck.
But City were back in front seconds after the restart when Mannion wrong-footed goalkeeper Kelsey Dossey with her spot-kick after Lee Geum-min was fouled in the box.
Bremer’s exquisite lob after Steph Houghton’s 70-yard pass ended the game as a contest, and the German forward turned Alana O’Neill inside out before slotting home the fourth.
The fifth from Weir was a calm strike after good control 12 yards out, and she hit the post a minute later.
Beckie’s low effort from the edge of the box beat Dossey at her near post with five minutes left before Scotland international Weir got her second with the final kick of the game.
The only downside for City was a concern over England forward Stanway who limped off having been injured while scoring the opening goal.