Match Report

Heartbreak for City in Conti Cup semis

ANGUISH: Ellen White looks up to the sky in agony
FA Women's League Cup
FA Women's League Cup
Wed 29 Jan
Vivianne Miedema 
Daniëlle van de Donk 
Gemma Bonner 
View highlights
City’s defence of the Continental Cup came to a disappointing end at the hands of Arsenal.

The Gunners – familiar foes for Nick Cushing’s side in the competition – avenged last season’s Final result, defeating the holders 2-1 in the semi-finals at Borehamwood.

READ: City to face Ipswich in FA Women's Cup

WATCH: FA Women's Cup highlights | United 2-3 City

TICKETS: City v Arsenal Women | Sun 2 Feb

Vivianne Miedema and Danielle Van De Donk were on the scoresheet for the hosts, capitalising on two first-half City mistakes, condemning the visitors to our first defeat of 2020.

Gemma Bonner had halved the deficit on the hour-mark but it was not enough on a forgettable night for City, which also saw Ellen White denied from the penalty spot..

What happened

The two sides locked horns for the sixth time in the competition, having also met in the 2014, 2018 and 2019 Finals.

City had triumphed in the last Conti Cup meeting, emerging victorious on penalties after a cagey goalless draw in normal time.

This encounter proved an equally tense affair with Arsenal the more clinical on the night to seal progression to February’s Final.

                        Heartbreak for City in Conti Cup semis

Fitting of our vibrant yellow and peach third kit, City started brightly, forcing Manuela Zinsberger into a smart stop inside the first five minutes, as White looked to continue her purple patch by converting a rebound after Caroline Weir’s initial effort was blocked.

It would be the hosts who broke the deadlock however, as Miedema capitalised on a defensive mistake, collecting Bonner’s loose pass before driving forward and drilling into the far corner.

City responded fairly well to the setback. Tessa Wullaert fired a low effort into Zinsberger’s arms, while stand-in right-back Georgia Stanway blazed wide from distance. White then spurned a good opportunity, rushing a chipped effort after pouncing on a loose ball and clipping straight to the Arsenal ‘keeper.

The visitors grew in confidence, threatening most dangerously through youngster Lauren Hemp out on the left flank, but the holders were dealt a killer blow moments before the break when Van De Donk unleashed a low effort goalward, which trickled agonisingly between Ellie Roebuck’s legs and over the line.

Desperate for a route back into the tie, City pressed in the second half but looked to be enduring ‘one of those nights’ when White saw a penalty saved, after Hemp had been upended. From the resulting corner however, Bonner swept home at the near post to give City a lifeline.

                        Heartbreak for City in Conti Cup semis

As the away side pushed forward, Arsenal threatened on the counter-attack and Roebuck did well to keep her side in the tie with a string of fine saves.

Despite the pressure, City could not muster a leveller. Substitute Laura Coombs, celebrating her birthday, went closest with a long-range effort late on but Arsenal hung on to progress…

What it means

Arsenal will face Chelsea in the Continental Cup Final, after Emma Hayes' side edged out Manchester United in the other semi-final.

The Final will take place on Saturday 29 February at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground (kick-off time TBC).

Team news

Cushing named an unchanged side from the one which defeated Manchester United in a five-goal thriller in the FA Women’s Cup on Saturday. Roebuck took her place in goal, shielded by a backline of Demi Stokes, Bonner, captain Steph Houghton and Stanway.

Keira Walsh and Caroline Weir protected the backline, employed behind Hemp and Jill Scott, while Wullaert and White led the line upfront.

Next up…

City and Arsenal lock horns once again on Sunday 2 February (2pm) in a top-of-the-table FA Women’s Super League clash, which also marks Cushing's final game in charge before he departs for New York City FC.

Tickets are available online or at the Etihad Stadium Ticket Office.

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