Manchester City registered their first ever Champions League win with a hard fought 2-0 win over Russian side Zvezda Perm at the Academy Stadium.
Chances in the opening 30 minutes were at a premium with Steph Houghton heading over from a corner and Jane Ross flashing a 25 yard effort wide the only clear cut chances the Champions made.
The deadlock was broken on 33 minutes when Lucy Bronze burst down the right, cut into her penalty and her cross found its way inside to Jill Scott who poked home from 5 yards out. It was City’s goal from open play since playing Doncaster Belles on August 11th. The goal brought City to life and minutes later almost added a second as Captain Steph Houghton rattled the crossbar with a header from a Toni Duggan corner but they failed to add a second before half time.
In the second half Jill Scott stung the palms of Iryna Zvarych with a hard drive from 25 yards forcing the Zvezda goalkeeper to tip it round the post. On the hour mark Steph Houghton picked out Demi Stokes with a superb cross field pass; the England full back in turn found Kosovare Asllani with a superb cross with the Swede doing well to bring the ball down inside the penalty area but her shot was tamely saved.
It was almost 2-0 with nine minutes remaining as Toni Duggan put Scott through with a delightful throw ball but the midfielder’s lob over Zvarychg cruelly hit the inside of the post and bounced clear. Moments later Zvezda created their best opening of the game as they won a free kick at the edge of the area; Bardsley punched cleared but Zvezda kept it alive until Darin Apanashchenko fired well over inside the area.
City Manager Nick Cushing had to wait until the 92nd minute for the crucial second goal to take to Russia as a City corner was only cleared as far as Lucy Bronze who powered a first time effort into the bottom right hand corner from 20 yards out with virtually the last kick of the game.
Nick Cushing said at full time; “We weren’t at our best tonight but we were good. We have a good chance of winning again in Russia next week”
City head to Russia for the second leg on Wednesday 13th October, 3pm KO (BST)
Player of the match: Lucy Bronze (Manchester City)