Manchester City prevail in FBMA Challenge

Manchester City Women emerged victorious in the Fatima Bint Mubarak Challenge with a 3-0 triumph over sister Club Melbourne in Abu Dhabi.

A brace from captain Steph Houghton and an Izzy Christiansen strike handed the Blues the triumph at the New York University Campus, in a dominant performance over their Australian counterparts.

The skipper opened the scoring with a stunning long-range free-kick before Christiansen doubled the advantage in the second half, chipping the ball over the goalkeeper. Houghton then added the third with a half-volley which deflected in off Hannah Brewer and the post.

The clash marked the very first meeting between the two Clubs, who made the trip to the UAE last week to embark on a warm-weather training camp.

Melbourne headed to the Emirates having lifted the W-League Championship title with a 100% record last month, whilst Nick Cushing’s side are preparing for the new FA Women’s Super League season and a first crack at Champions League football.

The Blues’ boss opted to field the same starting XI which defeated Swedish champions Rosengard in MCWFC’s first pre-season friendly – a 3-1 win which also saw Houghton and Christiansen on the scoresheet.

Having controlled possession from the first whistle, the Manchester side had numerous chances to extend the lead, as Toni Duggan, Jane Ross, Jill Scott, Nikita Parris, Kosovare Asllani and Keira Walsh all went close.

Three would be plenty on this occasion though and the Blues lifted 2016's first piece of silverware in the form of the FBMA Challenge Trophy, under the watchful eye of Club Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak.

The victory - and the manner of it - provides the perfect boost ahead of the new campaign, which will see Cushing's side fight on four fronts in a bid to become one of Europe's top sides.