Manchester City face a huge task to turn things around in their Women’s Champions League quarter-final following a 3-0 loss to Barcelona in the first leg in Monza.
After being thwarted by some fine work by Ellie Roebuck, Barca went ahead in the 35th minute through former Liverpool and Arsenal forward Asisat Oshoala, before Mariona Caldentey’s 53rd-minute penalty doubled the lead.
City, again playing without injured skipper Steph Houghton, were awarded a spot-kick of their own three minutes later, but Chloe Kelly saw her attempt from 12 yards kept out by Sandra Panos.
Substitute Jennifer Hermoso then notched Barca’s third with four minutes of normal time remaining to put them in a commanding position going into next Wednesday’s second leg at City’s Academy Stadium.
The winner of the tie will face either Lyon, the champions for the each of the last five years, or Paris St Germain in the semi-finals.
As Barca applied early pressure, Roebuck did well to deny Oshoala on the quarter-hour mark, then get down and save a shot from Aitana Bonmati.
At the other end Caroline Weir saw an effort saved by Panos and Kelly headed over, before Roebuck was called into action again, turning Alexia Putellas’ strike behind after City lost possession.
That was something they were guilty of a number of times during the half, with another occasion a few minutes later leading to a Putellas header that was caught by Roebuck.
Ellen White, captain in Houghton’s absence, then hit an effort off-target before Barca made the breakthrough via Oshoala, the Nigerian firing in from the edge of the box having been teed up following a free-kick.
Sam Mewis putting the ball in just prior to the break, only for the effort to be ruled out for offside, looked encouraging for City, but only a few minutes into the second half they were further behind, substitute Demi Stokes’ foul on Oshoala resulting in a penalty that Caldentey converted in composed fashion.
Within moments, referee Tess Olofsson pointed to the spot in the other box following a Maria Leon challenge on Lauren Hemp, but Kelly failed to take advantage, seeing her strike saved by Panos.
White saw a shot gathered by Panos in the 67th minute, and tame efforts from Weir and Mewis followed before the frustration increased for Gareth Taylor’s side late on as Putellas struck against the post and Hermoso scored on the follow-up.