Manchester City manager Gareth Taylor declined to blame his team’s Champions League exit on a lack of pre-season play after they were knocked out of qualifying by Real Madrid.
Following a 1-1 away tie for City in Spain, the newcomers, Real Madrid, were defeated 1-0 at home by Claudia Zornoza’s first-half strike. For the fourth season in a row, they have been eliminated by the Spanish opposition.
About the Champion’s League
The UEFA Women’s Champions League is an international competition for women’s association football. It features the best club teams from European governing organization UEFA member countries.
The UEFA Women’s Cup was first held in 2001–02, and the competition was renamed the Champions League for the 2009–10 season. The competition is accessible to all 55 UEFA associations’ champions. However, not every organization has or has had a qualifying women’s league, and not every country chooses to play every year.
The number of teams competing in the qualifying round and teams into the round of 32 varies from year to year due to changing participation.
Manchester City opened brightly, with Lauren Hemp coming close twice before Nahikari Garcia’s opener was ruled out for a minor offside.
Claudia Zornoza’s deflected strike flew past Karima Benameur just before half-time, putting the visitors ahead. City pressed for an equalizer in the second half and came close when Hayley Raso hit the post, with Ellen White flashing another header inches wide.
Despite the persistent pressure, their efforts were insufficient, as Real Madrid held on for a key victory.
Losing the Match
Taylor said that “We didn’t do any games in preseason and that was the situation we were in. Our pre-season preparation wasn’t great and the Olympics probably hurt us more than most teams in terms of the return to training for most of the girls.”
He didn’t want to use it as an excuse, so he didn’t. “If you don’t defend in the right manner and you don’t take your chances at the other end of the pitch, you’re always leaving yourself vulnerable like that.”
In addition to a lack of pre-season football, they have been forced to navigate the early stage of the season without much of the spine of the team.
The goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck, midfielder Keira Walsh, forward Chloe Kelly, and Fifa best player of the year Lucy Bronze are all out of action, while Ellen White and Georgia Stanway have yet to start a game as they shake off knocks.