Teenage midfielder Keira Walsh’s fine goal gave Manchester City a valuable 1-0 lead in their last-16 Women’s Champions League tie against Brondby.
In an even first leg of few chances, Walsh’s quality hit from range with 16 minutes remaining gave the English league champions the edge.
City should have gone ahead through Scotland’s Jane Ross, but she hesitated after rounding the Brondby goalkeeper.
The Danish side host the second leg on Wednesday, 16 November.
Facing an organised Brondby outfit who have reached the semi-finals on three occasions, City struggled to create chances in the first half but right-back Lucy Bronze did force a good low save from visiting keeper Katrine Abel.
The hosts could have gone behind, but England stopper Karen Bardsley was alert to produce a low, one-handed save to deny Nanna Christiansen.
After half-time the energetic Ross raced clear and calmly rounded Abel, but, with the goal gaping, defender Simone Sorensen had time to recover and intercept the danger.
As City began to dominate, England Under-19 international Walsh produced the game’s finest moment, finding the far corner with a crisp effort from outside the area which capped another excellent individual performance in the holding role.
City, who won a domestic double in 2016 by adding the Continental Cup to their maiden league title, have now kept 20 clean sheets in 26 matches in all competitions this year.
Brondby pushed for an away goal late on but Bardsley tipped away Veje Katrine’s curling effort in the closing stages – a save which could prove crucial.
‘We haven’t seen Walsh’s best yet’
City manager Nick Cushing was full of praise for young star Walsh after the game, hailing her as one of the best midfielders in the FA Women’s Super League.
“I’m glad she scored because I think her performances have been up there with the best, if not the best, players in the league,” he told BBC Sport.
“She’s been one of our key performers consistently.
“Her main attribute is her game intelligence. She’s bright, she understands the game and technically her passing range is really good.
“We haven’t even seen the best of her yet, she’s got real potential.”
Manchester City: Bardsley, Bronze, Stokes, Beattie, Houghton (capt). Asllani (Parris 67), Scott, Duggan (Stanway 75), Christiansen, Ross (Middag 85), Walsh.
Subs not used: Middag, Corboz, Stanway, Parris, Hourihan, Roebuck.
Brondby: Abel, Jans, S Sorensen, Sevecke, Jensen (N Sorensen 64), Nielsen (capt), Christiansen, Kristiansen, Veje (Alful 90+1), S Larsen (Karstoft 81), Tavlo-Peterson.
Subs not used: Rydahl, Abilda, Brunholt,, Karstoft, Alful, K Larsen.
Referee: Teodora Albon.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37924069