Melbourne City Women will create history on Thursday morning when they face sister club Manchester City in Abu Dhabi for the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy Challenge.
How to follow the match:
You can watch the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy (FBMA) Challenge from 12:50am AEST on Thursday morning right here on melbournecityfc.com.au. The fixture will also be broadcast on Abu Dhabi Sports 1, giving fans across the globe the chance to see the two women’s teams in action.
In the first ever Women’s match between members of the City Football Group, Melbourne City FC and Manchester City FC enter Thursday morning’s clash at very different phases of their respective campaigns.
For Melbourne, the post-season tour in the U.A.E capital is a deserved reward for a stellar inaugural season in Women’s football.
With a host of key players absent through both international duty and a return to club football, Head Coach Joe Montemurro has used the post-season tour to provide the Club’s developing players with an opportunity to test themselves against genuine world-class opposition.
Montemurro’s side will face a Manchester City outfit at the business end of their pre-season schedule, with Nick Cushing’s side in excellent spirits and peak condition ahead of the Club’s upcoming FA Women’s Super League campaign.
Both teams have enjoyed recent success, with Melbourne City crowned Westfield W-League Premiers and Champions in the Club’s inaugural season, and Manchester City earning qualification for the UEFA Women’s Champions League for the first time in late 2015.
Ones to watch
It is international quality which Manchester City have in abundance across the entire pitch, boasting no less than seven England senior internationals in their ranks.
Forward Isobel Christiansen is coming off a stellar campaign in 2014/15, earning the Club’s Player of the Season award after firing City into second place and UEFA Women’s Champions League qualification with six goals in the final seven matches.
Christiansen will provide the threat in attack alongside striker partner and fellow England international Toni Duggan, while Jill Scott will serve as her team’s engine room in the centre of the park.
City and England captain Steph Houghton is the lynchpin of a watertight defensive unit, which also includes familiar face Jennifer Beattie – who has returned to Manchester after starring in Melbourne City’s historic Westfield W-League double.
“[The tour] has been a bit of a mix of getting the training priorities in but also making sure the girls are relaxed. We’ll prepare the best we can for the game and we’re looking forward to a great experience.” – Melbourne City Women’s Head Coach Joe Montemurro
From the dressing room
“We’re really looking forward to the game and I think it will be an exciting opportunity to showcase individually what we can do, but also just let Manchester City and everyone else know what we are about.” – Melbourne City Women’s midfielder Amy Jackson
“It’s an exciting time. We play our sister Club and it will be a great spectacle for our partners, aabar and the FBMA Foundation. It’s brilliant to have such supportive people behind us who are allowing this tour to happen for both teams.” – Manchester City Women’s FC forward Isobel Christiansen
Melbourne City Women: Brianna Davey (GK), Amy Jackson, Alexandra Chidiac, Beattie Goad, Olivia Ellis, Melina Ayres, Rebekah Stott, Anisa Guarjardo, Marianna Tabain, Trudy Burke (GK), Hannah Brewer, Keelin Winters, Tessa Sernio, Tyla Jay Vlajnic, Rachel Corsie
Manchester City Women: Karen Bardsley (GK), Lucy Bronze, Demi Stokes, Jennifer Beattie, Steph Houghton, Jill Scott, Toni Duggan, Daphne Corboz, Isobel Christiansen, Zoe Tynan, Jane Ross, Nikita Parris, Megan Campbell, Marie Hourihan (GK), Alexandra MacIver (GK), Abbie McManus, Keira Walsh