Man City semi-final hopes over despite Barca winon March 31, 2021 at 5:15 pm

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Manchester City are eliminated from the Women’s Champions League as a 3-0 first-leg deficit proves too much against Barcelona.

Sam Mewis

City cut Barca’s aggregate lead to two goals when Janine Beckie stabbed in Sam Mewis’ knockdown in the first half.

But City’s chances were dented when Asisat Oshoala tucked home to restore Barca’s cushion after the break.

Sam Mewis put City back ahead from the spot but they exited 4-2 on aggregate.

Gareth Taylor’s side have not reached the semi-final stage since 2017-18 when they lost to Lyon, but gave a much better account of themselves than they did in the first leg.

They can now focus on their push for the Women’s Super League title, as they look to chase down leaders Chelsea.

Barcelona will face either holders Lyon or Paris St-Germain in the semi-finals.

Taylor’s side take the game to Barca

In the build-up, Taylor had maintained his side were capable of causing problems for the Spanish league leaders with 55 goals in 18 Women’s Super League games, and it was certainly initially the case as a confident City opened the game well.

Lauren Hemp’s absence with an ear infection gave Beckie the chance to impress, and she took it by scoring her sixth Champions League goal for the club.

It was the first time Barcelona goalkeeper Sandra Panos had conceded since January’s El Clasico win over Real Madrid.

Alex Greenwood was a threat from dead-ball situations, though she could only wrap a free-kick from the edge of the box into the wall.

Beckie then tested Panos with a well-struck drive on the right, while Rose Lavelle hooked over the top after a corner was cleared.

Chloe Kelly, who missed a spot-kick in the first leg, was a lively threat throughout and played a beautiful curling pass to set Ellen White away, but her shot was drilled straight at the keeper.

White was felled in the box and Mewis stepped up to roll past Panos to give City a glimmer of hope, and there was late excitement when Georgia Stanway went round the goalkeeper only to be ruled offside.

Relentless Blaugrana have enough

Asisat Oshoala celebrates

Although City won the game, in truth Barcelona’s lead was never in danger and they might have added more goals had their finishing been sharper.

The Blaugrana have cruised through their domestic league season with 103 goals in 21 straight wins, but that finishing touch denied them on crucial occasions.

Oshoala got herself on the scoresheet but should arguably have had a hat-trick as she was denied by a wonderful block by Lucy Bronze, and then by brave goalkeeping from Ellie Roebuck.

Caroline Graham-Hansen, whose block and clever cut-back fed Oshoala for the Barca goal, created havoc with her pace but her best effort was also saved by Roebuck.

The Catalans’ strength in depth was highlighted when Netherlands international Lieke Martens was brought on off the bench in the second half but she was unable to add to the scoring as Lluis Cortes’ side suffered a rare defeat.

The semi-final first and second legs will be staged on 24-25 April and 1-2 May respectively, with the final set to take place in Gothenburg, Sweden, on 16 May.

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