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The knockout stages of the UEFA Women's Champions League got underway this week with four British clubs in action, and three picked up victories to move themselves closer towards the last sixteen.
The two Scottish teams were in action on Wednesday night, starting with Glasgow City who had made the long trip to Moscow to face WFC Chertanovo. Scott Booth's side got off to a fantastic start with Hayley Lauder giving them an early lead, which they protected for the remainder of the game to take a 1-0 lead into the return leg at Petershill Park in two weeks time.
Hibernian meanwhile played host to SK Slavia Praha at Easter Road and they, too, could not have started better with Siobhan Hunter firing them ahead from a Rachael Boyle corner after just two minutes. However, they found themselves up against vastly experienced Champions League opponents and Slavia went on to put the early setback behind them and wrest firm control of the tie with a 4-1 victory. Tereza Kozarova netted twice before the break and the striker went on to complete her hat-trick during the second half. Andrea Jarchovska also got on the scoresheet, leaving Hibs with much to do when the teams meet again in Prague.
Arsenal made their eagerly anticipated return to the competition after five years away, returning from Fiorentina with a 4-0 victory under their belts. The Gunners took a first half lead through Vivianne Miedema, which was doubled just after the half hour by Kim Little. Six minutes into the second half, Miedema netted her second and Lisa Evans rounded off the scoring with the fourth shortly afterwards.
Manchester City travelled to Switzerland to take on FF Lugano, determined not to repeat their surprise exit at this stage a year ago. The Swiss side may well have caught the backlash as a six-goal second half blast took Nick Cushing's side to a 7-1 win. Georgia Stanway put City ahead midway through the first half, with Lugano hitting back to level the scores just ahead of half time through Kaela Dickerman. Aoife Mannion restored City's lead three minutes after the restart and they steamrollered the home side from this point. Pauline Bremer led the second half rout with a double and Caroline Weir also scored twice, either side of a goal from Janine Beckie to put the seal on a good week of away matches for the British teams.
Elsewhere, holders and favourites Olympique Lyonnais made an ominous start to their campaign by scoring nine times without reply away to Ryazan-VDV, including a hat-trick from Ada Hegerberg. Meanwhile Barcelona, beaten finalists last time around, travelled to Juventus in the most eye catching tie of the round and took control of the tie with a 2-0 victory. VfL Wolfsburg notched up the biggest winning margin of the week with ten goals away to Mitrovica, whilst Bayern Munich came through a tough first leg away to FC Goteborg with a 2-1 success.
In all, it was a good week to be on the road as only two of the sixteen ties resulted in home victories. FC Minsk were 1-0 winners against FC Zurich Frauen, whilst Icelandic champions Breidabik beat last season's quarter finalists AC Sparta Praha 3-2. RSC Anderlecht and BIIK-Kazygurt battled out a 1-1 draw, but all of the other matches resulted in away wins.
The second legs of the Round of 32 ties will be played on 25th and 26th September, with the draw for the last sixteen being held at UEFA headquarters four days later.
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