Girlz coach says Shaw's Man City brace a boost for club and country
USA's Alana Cook (right) and Jamaica's Khadija Shaw vie for the ball during their 2022 Concacaf Women's Championship match at the BBVA Bancomer stadium in Monterrey, Mexico on Thursday, July 7. (Photo: Observer file)

Reggae Girlz Assistant Coach Xavier Gilbert thinks Khadija "Bunny" Shaw's goals for Manchester City on Thursday night could be an indication that the freeflowing striker is getting back to her scoring best.

The 25-year-old Jamaican struck an early double as Manchester City Women made a successful start to their UEFA Women's Champions League qualifying campaign with an emphatic 6-0 victory over Tomiris-Turan.

"We are happy that Khadija has scored these two goals and this shows that she has started to regain some form and this is good for Jamaica as it is good for her club... as you know she has been competing for that striker's position and it is tough for her there in Man City, but she continues to work.

"She is a prolific scorer and does well wherever she goes and we are very proud of her, and once she gets some minutes, she will continue to score," said Gilbert, who forms part of the coaching team that recently steered Jamaica to consecutive Fifa Women's World finals.

The veretan coach of women's football in Jamaica argues that an in-form Shaw will be a great benefit to the Girlz as they head off for two matches against hosts South Korea next month.

"So as we head into this tour of South Korea, it's a good boost that she has been scoring and this will give her a lot of confidence heading into these games, and as coaches, we are pleased with that," Gilbert told the Jamaica Observer on Friday.

City stormed onto the attack and took the lead inside four minutes. England hero Lauren Hemp outsmarted her marker, delivered a cross and found Shaw, who finished expertly.

The same duo linked up again on 20 minutes, but Shaw's back heel was kept out by goalkeeper Aytaj Sharifova.

However, Shaw was not to be denied a minute later, as she headed home her second of the night after converting Chloe Kelly's centre.

Spanish Town-born Shaw was proving too hot for the Tomiris-Turan defence to handle and she turned provider in first-half stoppage time, freeing Hemp to claim her first goal of the campaign with a cool finish.

Spaniard Vicky Losada's strike on 82 minutes marked the beginning of a further three goals in the space of 10 minutes.

Deyna Castellanos, a summer signing from Atletico Madrid, who replaced Shaw on 68 minutes after the Reggae Girl had gone close to completing her hat-trick, netted a fifth from the penalty spot before Keira Walsh completed the rout in stoppage time.

City will now face Real Madrid on Sunday for a place in the second qualifying round.

City boss Gareth Taylor included five Lionesses heroes from England's recent European Championship success in his starting line-up, awarding starting berths to Ellie Roebuck, Alex Greenwood, Hemp and Walsh, who scored the winner for England in the final against Germany at Wembley Stadium last month.

Shaw, who made her debut for the Reggae Girlz in 2015, joined City from French club Bordeaux in June last year on a three-year deal and ended the season with nine club goals.

— CMC/Observer

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