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We left everything out there – Man City boss Gareth Taylor on European exit

Manchester City v Barcelona – UEFA Women’s Champions League – Quarter Final – Second Leg – Manchester City Academy Stadium
(Image credit: Zac Goodwin)

Manchester City boss Gareth Taylor was proud of his players’ performance after they beat Barcelona 2-1 but were knocked out of the Women’s Champions League.

A week on from losing the first leg of the quarter-final tie 3-0 in Monza, City’s hopes of turning things around at the Academy Stadium were boosted in the 20th minute by Janine Beckie’s close-range finish.

But after some great work from Ellie Roebuck and Lucy Bronze to keep Barca at bay, the visitors then netted just before the hour mark through Asisat Oshoala.

Barcelona celebrate Asisat Oshoala's goal

Barcelona celebrate Asisat Oshoala’s goal (Zac Goodwin/PA)

City replied with a 68th-minute Sam Mewis penalty but could add nothing further as they were beaten 4-2 on aggregate.

Taylor said: “I thought we had to go out and chase the game, be aggressive and take the game to them. We knew there would be chances.

“I was proud of our performance today, I thought the girls left everything out there.

“Obviously it was difficult when we conceded, but I thought the fightback from there was great, we created some more chances and went ahead, and still fought to the end.

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“I think it’s a positive in winning the game, we just came up a little bit short.”

The penalty was awarded after Ellen White was fouled by Leila Ouahabi, and when asked if he felt there should have been a red card for the Barcelona player, Taylor said: “Potentially, yeah.

“I thought it wasn’t a great standard of refereeing today if I’m honest, on a few of the decisions. There were a few niggly fouls after the event which weren’t picked up on.

“There’s a potential for that to happen and obviously if they lose a player that makes the game a bit easier for us. But I think at that point, once they scored the away goal, it was obviously an uphill battle for us.”

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It is the third successive year that City – beaten semi-finalists in 2017 and 2018 – have failed to reach the last four of the competition.

When Taylor, who is in his first season in charge of the club, was asked what was missing to give City that extra push to go into last four and beyond, he said: “Probably that bit of luck.

“I think as much as people talk about the football that is played, you just sometimes need the big moments to go your way.

“We made a positive start, we took the game to Barcelona, we played high energy, we created opportunities, and we just fell that little bit short. You need kind of the stars to be aligned to help you in certain instances as well.

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“It’s great experience for us and we look forward to meeting this challenge again.”

Barca will face either holders Lyon or Paris St Germain in the last four, while Chelsea will meet either Bayern Munich or Rosengard, having defeated Wolfsburg 3-0 earlier on Wednesday for a 5-1 win on aggregate.

City, who won the FA Cup in November, are two points behind leaders Chelsea in the Women’s Super League with the sides each having four games left, which includes a meeting at the Academy Stadium on April 25.