Rose Lavelle & Sam Mewis excel during Manchester City's Champions League victory

Ali Rampling
Mar 11, 2021, 3:45 PM GMT
Lavelle impressed on her first Champions League start
Lavelle impressed on her first Champions League start | Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Rose Lavelle was handed her full Champions League debut and Sam Mewis netted a brace from the bench as Manchester City booked their place in the last quarter finals with a 5-0 victory over Fiorentina.

The result gave City a comprehensive 8-0 aggregate victory - and the USWNT pair of Lavelle and Mewis were at the heart of their second leg win.

The match was Lavelle's first start in a City shirt since their 3-0 victory over Everton on 6 December - and although international commitments and injury go some way to explaining her prolonged absence from the starting lineup, she has been restricted to substitute appearances since becoming available again for selection.

Every time a City starting XI is announced on social media, the comment section is awash with fans demanding to know why Lavelle's name is among the substitutes. And rightly so - the 25-year-old is regarded as among the best in the world, the USWNT's breakout star from the 2019 World Cup.

But there are also players of real quality keeping her out of the side; namely Caroline Weir, currently in the form of her life and among the WSL's standout performers over the last two seasons, and Lavelle's USWNT teammate Mewis, who has taken to life in England with such assuredness and looks a class apart every time she steps onto the pitch.

As a result, Lavelle has frequently been deployed as a wide player as part of City's front three as a starter during the first half of the season and more recently from the bench.

However, against Fiorentina, the former Washington Spirit midfielder was selected to start in City's midfield three - the position she usually occupies for the USWNT - for the first time since 18 October, and turned in one of her most complete performances yet in a City shirt.

Tessel Middag, Rose Lavelle, Greta Adami
Lavelle turned in one of her best performances to date for City | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Lavelle was integral in her side's opening goal, playing a clever one two with Georgia Stanway on the edge of the Fiorentina box before the ball eventually worked its way to Ellen White, who slammed home.

She looked completely at ease and confident on the ball, drifting through challenges with her superb balance and weaving past defenders with her sumptuous footwork. Her link up play was effective, with a perfectly weighted through ball to send Janine Beckie scampering away down the right flank in the second half the pick of the bunch distribution wise.

Despite her slight frame, Lavelle demonstrated her deceptively tenacious side as she won possession back for City in the Fiorentina half with a number of strong tackles on numerous occasions.

The USWNT player also completed the full 90 minutes for just the second time in a City shirt - the first time she has done so since October.

Samantha Mewis
Mewis netted a brace for City | Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Teammate Mewis was introduced at half time and turned in another all-conquering display in the heart of the midfield, as has become second nature to her by now.

The 28-year-old set the tone for her entire performance in the early stages of the second half, marauding through challenges into the Fiorentina box and seeing her near post effort tipped wide for a corner.

Mewis would get on the scoresheet - twice - before the game was out, taking her Champions League tally to four in four. Her first goal was a low finish from outside the area following a characteristic charge forward from deep, and her second saw her drift into the box and emphatically tuck home Chloe Kelly's low cross.

City will find out their quarter final opponent on Friday as Lavelle, Mewis and Abby Dahlkemper attempt to become the first USWNT players to win the competition since Alex Morgan back in 2017.