Goals from Izzy Christiansen and Nikita Parris saw Manchester City come from behind against LSK to do the double over the Toppserien champions in the UEFA Women’s Champions League and ease into the last eight.
Upset on the night
Picking up from where they left off in Lillestrøm last week, City didn’t give their opposition any time to settle, Jill Scott drawing a save from Cecilie Fiskerstrand in the second minute. The young ‘keeper was called back into action minutes later to save a belated header, her quick hands just about enough to stop the ball from completely crossing the line before making herself big to block a Demi Stokes’ shot.
An incisive break saw LSK manage something in twenty minutes in Manchester that they failed to do for an hour and a half at home last week and surprised the hosts by notching first. Guro Reiten’s smart cross-field ball picked Emilie Haavi out as she chased behind the defence, the ball sent back across poked home by Marte Berget.
Looking far more assured than last week, LSK were forced back but comfortable off the ball, blocking and challenging every other minute in the final third and sparking away on the counter in pursuit of a second. With the visitors blocking left, right and centre, City found themselves frustrated with nothing to show for their dominance and 15 total first-half shots.
An attack at the start of the second half quickly petered out for LSK and they were instantly hit on the counter. Anna Westerlund pushed too high up and allowing too much space as the blue shirts suddenly flocked forward. Kept alive and swept across, Fiskerstrand charged out, second to the ball as Izzy Christiansen arrived, unmarked, to slam it into the far corner and restore the parity City had been desperate for. Just as the Citizens were filling their sails once more the game stopped dead as Megan Campbell went down before eventually being stretchered off after a lengthy delay.
A game of pinball at an LSK corner almost brought about the third goal, for the visitors then the hosts. The Canaries hounded Ellie Roebuck’s goal, the ‘keeper alert to guard her goal before the hosts countered, flooding forward as LSK repelled before countering themselves, Haavi’s lash just wide of the upright.
With the Citizens cutting against their visitors time again and again, it wasn’t a case of “if” they were going to get another goal but rather, when. A question Nikita Parris answered 27 minutes after Christiansen’s leveller. The yellow defence pulled left and right as the winger connected with the ball and poked home.
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Routine win for the Citizens
Time ticked away in Manchester, the match already won last week. The 90 minutes in England drew to a close with City looking for more, never satiated, LSK still looking for an equaliser on the counter. Roebuck called into action late in the day to parry Haavi’s direct free kick over before the blue sea rolled forward again, crashing into the away box, ready to claim their fourth win of the tournament.
The match marked the end of LSK’s year, the season already over and the gap between them and the best in Europe growing as they fell away against the physicality of the WSL champions. Their technical ability and semi-pro status only took them so far.
For City the match was a non-event, a training ground exercise against a season-weary team. The loss of Megan Campbell was the biggest impact of anything over the 90 minutes. The last eight is City’s destination for a second successive season.