Match Report

Classy City outfox Leicester

Classy City outfox Leicester
FA Women's League Cup
FA Women's League Cup
Sun 26 Aug
City moved top of the Continental Cup Group One North with a comprehensive 4-0 triumph over Leicester.

Belgium's all-time top goalscorer Tessa Wullaert marked her competitive home debut with a brace, while an own-goal and a Nadia Nadim strike ensured the Blues proved too strong for the Super League 2 outfit in a clinical second half.

In true Manchester style, the Bank Holiday weekend clash was soaked with rain but it did little to dampen spirits on Cityzens Sunday as Nick Cushing’s side claimed a second victory from two, after a penalty shoot-out win against Birmingham last weekend.

What happened…

Captain Steph Houghton had warned that the Midlands outfit would make life difficult for the Blues and the Foxes defended for their lives in the opening 45, preserving their clean with a combination of last-ditch tackles, smart stops and a little help from the woodwork.

The floodgates would open once the deadlock had been broken though and City cruised to a professional victory.

The Blues dominated the early exchanges and went close inside the first ten minutes. Gemma Bonner was unfortunate not to connect with Jen Beattie’s header across goal, while Nadim fired straight at Demi Lambourne, having chested the ball down well inside the area.

Nadim then saw a header cleared off the line before youngster Jess Park dragged an effort inches wide.

At the other end, Leicester were restricted to half-chances on the counter-attack and Freda Ayisi struck the visitors’ first effort on target, which Karen Bardsley was equal to.

Beattie then had a header comfortably saved and Caroline Weir blazed a free-kick over, as City stepped up a gear.

                        Classy City outfox Leicester

Wullaert also headed just over and watched a curling effort deflect narrowly wide, before Bonner came even closer, hitting the crossbar as she attempted to divert Nadim’s header in at the backpost.

Teenager Park almost bagged just before the break but fired Claire Emslie’s cut-back wide in the last major action of the half.

The hosts continued the onslaught after the restart. Nadim was unlucky not to break the deadlock inside four minutes, heading over Weir’s excellent whipped delivery, and another Wullaert effort suffered the same fate, as she stretched to convert Mel Lawley’s cross.

The Belgian would open her City account moments later though, smashing home after Park’s header was cleared and fell kindly for the new recruit on the penalty spot. It was no more than City - and star Wullaert - deserved.

Leicester responded well and Bardsley was forced into two stops in the minutes after the opener – first from Taome Oliver and then from Melissa Johnson.

Leigh Dugmore then spurned the chance to level, scooping Ayisi’s cross over the bar at the near post, and the Foxes were almost punished as substitute and new recruit Janine Beckie sliced a shot the wrong side of the post.

                        Classy City outfox Leicester

City's second goal arrived soon after, courtesy of an own-goal, as Nadim’s flick on hit Sherry McCue, after more good work from the influential Emslie down the flank.

Wullaert then grabbed her second, slotting home from close range from yet another Emslie cross and Nadim added the icing to the proverbial cake on a day of celebration for the Club, drilling in to complete the rout.

How we lined up…

Bardsley took her place in goal, shielded by a backline of Mie Jans, Bonner, stand-in captain Beattie and Abi McManus.

Weir occupied the defensive midfield role, behind fellow home debutants Wullaert and Jess Park. Emslie and Lawley were employed on the wings, while Nadim led the line upfront.

Player of the Match

At the heart of the Blues' best attacking moves - even alongside her delightful double - Tessa Wullaert produced a superb performance.

She had been unfortunate not to open the scoring earlier in the game but struck her first goal for the Club with aplomb before playing a key role in City's second and then doubling her personal tally with a sweeping effort from close range.

Nick Cushing reaction

"Patience was key. We'd said that before the game.

"We'd watched a lot of their footage and recognised they had been a very aggressive, pressing team in previous games - but we knew there was a possibility they would come and sit and put 11 behind the ball and try and frustrate us.

"I thought we created a lot of chances - we just weren't clinical enough - but with four goals and a clean sheet, I'm really happy."

What it means…

City top Group One North with five points from two games.

WATCH: Continental Cup highlights: Birmingham v City

Next up…

After an international break, City travel to Chelsea in the Women’s Super League opener on Sunday 9 September (2pm). The game will be broadcast live on BT Sport.

The Blues’ next home game will take place on Sunday 23 September (2pm) against Bristol City.

Tickets for all home matches are available via or the Etihad Stadium Ticket Office. Seasoncards are also now on general sale.

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