Match Report

City into Conti Cup quarter-finals after late win over Leicester

City into Conti Cup quarter-finals after late win over Leicester
FA Women's League Cup
FA Women's League Cup
Wed 18 Jan
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1
Filippa Angeldahl 
(90')
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Filippa Angeldahl’s late strike earned City top spot in Group B and passage to the Continental Cup quarter-finals after a hard-fought 1-0 win away to Leicester.

The Swede found the net from Lauren Hemp’s cut back as stoppage time approached at the Pirelli Stadium.

City knew that qualification was all but guaranteed before kick-off but have now claimed 11 wins in our last 12 matches in all competitions.

It means we travel to Bristol City in the last eight of the Conti Cup after the Vixens beat Lewes 1-0 on Wednesday evening.

What happened

Gareth Taylor’s side knew that only a defeat and four-goal swing would be enough to deny us top spot in Group B.

But against a Leicester side in high spirits following their first win of the season at the weekend, it was far from plain sailing.

And the hosts even had the ball in the net early on, but the offside flag was rightly raised as we began to gradually feel our way into proceedings at a chilly Pirelli Stadium.

It took until the half-hour point for City to have any real glimpse of goal, and it came when Conti Cup top scorer Mary Fowler hooked an effort just over the bar at the near post following good work from Kerstin Casparij down the right.

The holders were beginning to find some joy down the right, with the lively Hayley Raso forcing a corner after being threaded through by Angeldahl’s pass in behind.

However, after sitting deep and absorbing the pressure, Willie Kirk’s side twice called Sandy MacIver into action as half-time approached.

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And our keeper was thankful to Steph Houghton for clearing the danger after Sam Tierney had beaten her to a loose ball in the box, but the England international would show great reactions soon after to smother Jemma Purfield’s powerful header from a corner.

It was City’s turn to stay disciplined and regroup, with MacIver making another fine save down to her left on the stroke of half-time to deny Molly Pike from grabbing the opening goal with a cleverly flicked effort.

Leicester also started the stronger after the break, with Ava Baker curling a long-range effort just wide of the far post as the clock ticked over the 50-minute mark.

But after that early warning, it didn’t take long for Gareth Taylor’s side to get our foot on the ball, with Vicky Losada, making her first appearance since October after an injury lay-off, firing just over the bar from distance.

An end-to-end half continued with Foxes substitute Mackenzie Smith’s dangerous ball across the area trickling behind for a goal kick as the 75-minute mark approached.

And MacIver was once again alert to the danger soon after to deny Aileen Whelan a sight of goal having been played in behind.

It was City’s turn to rue missed opportunities next, with Raso unable to properly connect with substitute Lauren Hemp’s teasing cross in from the left, before Angeldahl blazed over minutes later after the ball fell invitingly into her path.

But the Swede, City’s standout player on the night, would grab the decisive strike on the stroke of stoppage time, ghosting into the box to coolly convert Hemp’s ball in from the left.

It would prove the final talking point of a keenly fought contest, as City maintained our 100% record in the competition to set up a last eight tie in Bristol next week.

Player of the match: Filippa Angeldahl

The Swede looked sharp in the middle of the park and was often the driving force for City in a slender victory.

Angeldahl ultimately stepped up when it mattered late on, firing home the winning goal after her run into the box went unchecked.

It was just rewards for the midfielder, who has now scored in successive Conti Cup fixtures after also finding the net against Liverpool in December 2022.

How we lined up

Gareth Taylor made ten changes from Sunday’s 1-0 victory over West Ham, with Leila Ouahabi the only survivor.

Sandy MacIver’s goal was shielded by a back four of Kerstin Casparij, Steph Houghton, Laia Aleixandri and Ouahabi.

Ruby Mace, making her first start of the season, sat in front of the defence, with Filippa Angeldahl and Vicky Losada completing the midfield.

At the sharp end, Hayley Raso and Julie Blakstad provided width for centre-forward Mary Fowler.

City XI: MacIver, Casparij (Coombs 64’), Houghton, Aleixandri, Ouahabi (Morgan 46’), Mace (Hasegawa 64’), Angeldahl, Losada (Castellanos 64’), Raso, Blakstad (Hemp 73’), Fowler.

Subs: Roebuck, Greenwood, Kelly, Kennedy

Leicester XI: Levell, Tierney, Pike, Whelan (C), Simon, Howard (Reavill 91'), Cain (Smith 71’), Plumptre, Purfield, Baker, Robinson.

Subs: Cambourne

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Next Opponent

It’s another quick turnaround for City, who are back in WSL action against Aston Villa this weekend.

We welcome the Villans to the Academy Stadium on Saturday 21 January, with kick-off scheduled for 11:30 (UK).

Tickets are selling fast for our first home match of 2023, so make sure to get yours soon if you haven’t already.

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What it means

Gareth Taylor’s side have secured qualification to the quarter-finals of the Continental Cup having finished as winners of Group B.

Our reward is a trip to Bristol City next week after they beat Lewes earlier on Wednesday.

Keep across mancity.com and the official Man City app for further details on the fixture.

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