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Manchester City have reached the semi finals of the UEFA Women's Champions League at the first attempt after repeating their first leg victory over Fortuna Hjorring at the Academy Stadium.
Lucy Bronze's first half header handed the Blues a hard-fought 1-0 win over Fortuna Hjorring, claiming a 2-0 triumph on aggregate.
The result of another dominant and professional display sets up a mouthwatering last four clash with current European champions Lyon, following their 2-1 aggregate triumph over Wolfsburg.
There was further cause to celebrate as once again, City broke an attendance record, with 2,152 turning out to watch the quarter-final second leg encounter: the most to have done so for a Champions League game in Manchester.
Nick Cushing opted to field the same starting XI that lined up in Denmark. Karen Bardsley took her place between the posts, shielded by a defensive back line of Demi Stokes, Abbie McManus, Steph Houghton and Bronze. Keira Walsh was employed in defensive midfield, just behind Carli Lloyd and Jill Scott, while Melissa Lawley and Kosovare Asllani operated the wings. Jane Ross led the line up front.
Just as they did in Denmark, the Blues started brightly, creating two promising chances inside the first quarter of an hour. Some fine build up play resulted in Jane Ross playing through to Jill Scott but the England international was thwarted by Maria Christiansen in the Fortuna goal. Carli Lloyd then went in search of her second European goal with an excellent dribbling run into the area. The shot that followed crept inches wide.
Kosovare Asllani then headed off target before Melissa Lawley curled a long range attempt goalwards, which swerved just wide. Karen Bardsley was then called into action at the other end, making an important stop to deny Camilla Kur Larsen from close range.
Caroline Rask then had two opportunities to level the aggregate score, first firing at Steph Houghton and then blasting the rebound past the post. Lloyd then saw another effort suffer the same fate, before Houghton unleashed a free kick into the grateful arms of Christansen.
City's pressure paid off five minutes before the break when Bronze planted a looping header over the Fortuna goalkeeper from Lawley's corner. It was Bronze's third goal in of City's maiden Champions League campaign, with the right back having netted in both legs against Zvezda Perm.
Although the visitors were in desperate need of a goal to light a glimmer of hope, they did little to trouble Bardsley. Nora Heroum came closest with an attempt from distance which the City ‘keeper saw over the bar.
Lloyd almost doubled the advantage on the night but was denied by Christiansen as the game entered its last five minutes. Two goals over two games would prove enough though for the Blues - and continue their 100% record in 2017.
City therefore face Lyon in the semi finals at home on 22/23 April (first leg) and 29/30 April (second leg). Barcelona face Paris Saint Germain in the other last four tie. The final will be played on 1st June at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Manchester City: Karen Bardsley, Lucy Bronze, Demi Stokes, Keira Walsh, Abbie McManus, Steph Houghton, Kosovare Asllani (sub Nikita Parris 72mins), Jill Scott (sub Tessel Middag 66mins), Jane Ross, Carli Lloyd, Melissa Lawley. Subs not used: Ellie Roebuck, Marie Hourihan, Toni Duggan, Izzy Christiansen, Georgia Stanway.
Fortuna Hjorring: Maria Christensen, Tuija Hyyrynen, Janelle Cordia, Caroline Rask (sub Caroline Moller 52mins), Camilla Larsen, Nora Heroum, Florentina Omar, Sarah Hansen (sub Francisleide dos Santos Barbosa 52mins), Laura Frank (sub Signe Bruun 74mins), Frederikke Thogersen, Luna Gewitz. Subs not used: Rachel Harrison, Guro Pettersen, Louise Ringsing, Dominika Conc.
(Report by manchestercity.fawsl.com)
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