Fiorentina, whose starting line-up included the Republic of Ireland’s former Arsenal centre-back Louise Quinn and former Manchester City midfielder Tessel Middag, brought on Scotland striker Lana Clelland at half-time, but they didn’t see enough of the ball as a team to really bring the Perthshire-born forward into the game.
“It’s a standard above what we’re used to,” Clelland admitted. “They’ve got some incredible world-class players. We’re maybe used to a different sort of tempo over in Italy so it took us five-10 minutes to get up to that standard and unfortunately they’ve hit us quickly and we’ve conceded two goals. If you take the first 10 minutes out of the game, we were pretty even.”
Fiorentina coach Antonio Cicotta, whose side were without nine players through a combination of injuries and Covid-19 precautions, said City’s quick start was a “shock” for his side, adding: “We are not used to playing with this high rhythm because the league in Italy is not at this high level.”
The Florence-based club qualified by virtue of finishing second in the Women’s Serie A behind Juventus last term, but this season they are down in fifth spot. Their one single shot of the game came after a rare counter attack in the second half, but Denmark’s Frederikke Thorgersen curled wide after racing into the box.
Taylor was most pleased his side had not conceded an away goal, adding: “When you get to this stage of the competition, clean sheets are priceless. It was an important goal to score the third one, that makes a big difference.”
Fiorentina will surely have to attempt to attack far more frequently in the second leg in Florence, which will be played next Thursday, 11 March at 13:00 GMT, while City will hope the trip is simply the next step on their road to the final in Gothenburg, Sweden, on 16 May.
Manchester City (4-3-3): Roebuck; Bronze, Houghton (c), Dahlkemper (Morgan, 64), Greenwood; Stanway, Coombs, Weir (Mewis, 64); Kelly, White, Hemp (Lavelle, 64)
Subs not used: Taieb, Keating, Mannion, Beckie, Walsh, Davies
Yellow cards: Dahlkemper
Fiorentina (5-3-2): Schroffenegger; Thorgersen, Cordia, Quinn, Adami (c), Zanoli (Monnecchi, 77); Vigilucci, Neto, Middag; Baldi (Clelland, 45) Sabatino
Subs not used: Ohrstrom, Tortelli, Breitner, Piemonte, Forcinella (g), Pastifieri, Papi, Mani
Yellow cards: Neto
Referee: Monika Mularczyk (Poland)