Manchester City were beaten on penalties by Leicester in the Continental Cup group stages on a night where Demi Stokes also made her 200th appearance.

Two quick-fire goals from the visitors just before the break left City on the back foot going into the second half.

But the Blues bounced back, with goals from Deyna Castellanos and Laura Coombs dragging City back into the game.

As neither side found the winner, a penalty shootout ensued, but with Mary Fowler, Deyna Castellanos and Steph Houghton all seeing their spot kicks saved, it meant we had to settle for a single point at the Joie Stadium.

What Happened

It was end-to-end football from kick-off, with Leicester’s Missy Goodwin proving to be a particular threat to our defence as an early strike narrowly missed the target.

A test to our Blues came again through a shot from Goodwin which Khiara Keating couldn’t quite grasp, leading to a scramble in the box that was successfully cleared by Esme Morgan.

But City also had our chances, with Foxes keeper Lize Kop called into action multiple times.

The first came through Mary Fowler, who embarked on a run through the final third and released Jess Park, whose thunderous shot was denied.

Kop also got her hands to a great curling strike from Chloe Kelly to deter City’s efforts further.

Nonetheless, City’s attack continued with Ruby Mace, who danced through the final third and laid the ball off for Laura Coombs, but her powerful long-range shot just missed the target.

The visitors were the ones to open the scoring though. Goodwin’s relentless pressing paid off as she released the ball into the penalty box for Janice Cayman to coolly slide into the back of the net at the 40th-minute mark.

The momentum was with the Foxes, and they doubled their lead through a corner which Sophie Howard nodded home just minutes later.

City started the second half with a strong determination to halve the deficit.

It began when Coombs picked the ball up from Kelly and tried her luck from distance. While this effort was wide of the mark, the long-range attempts kept coming.

Known for her stunning strikes, Castellanos provided another soon after, with her fantastic shot from outside the box pinging down from the crossbar into the net to spark the comeback.

Leicester nearly grabbed a third through Hannah Cain though, when she fired just wide of the post.

But City’s press continued, and Castellanos’ header almost secured her a brace as she tried to finish a powerful cross by Lauren Hemp.

The equaliser the Blues were searching for came in the 70th minute though, and Castellanos was at the centre again.

Winning possession up high and shrugging past the Leicester defence, she laid the ball off to Coombs who slotted into the back of the net.

But with neither side able to grab the winner as the final whistle blew, it went down to the lottery of a penalty shootout.

Keating and Leicester’s substitute goalkeeper Janina Leitzig took centre stage, with both pulling off fine saves to take it to sudden death.

However, Houghton being denied from the spot meant the Foxes secured two points in the group.

How we lined up

Gareth Taylor made nine changes to the side that beat Manchester United 3-1 at Old Trafford last week. 

Khiara Keating began between the sticks, shielded by a back four of Kerstin Casparij, captain Steph Houghton, Esme Morgan and Julie Blakstad

Ruby Mace sat in front of the defence, with Mary Fowler and Laura Coombs completing the midfield. 

Jess Park and Chloe Kelly started on the wings, with Deyna Castellanos to finish the strike force. 

CITY XI: Keating, Casparij (Stokes 63’), Houghton (C), Morgan, Blakstad (Greenwood 46’), Mace (Hasegawa 46’), Fowler, Coombs, Park (Hemp 46’), Castellanos, Kelly (Roord 63’) 

Substitutes: Roebuck, Angeldahl, Ouahabi, Kennedy

Leicester XI: Kop (Leitzig 94’), Nevin, Tierney, Bott, Howard, Palmer (Rantala 70’), Whelan (C), Cayman, Green, Siemsen (Petermann 46’), Goodwin (Cain 57’) 

Substitutes: Robinson, Baker, Reavill, Sterwood, Draper 

What it means

Tonight’s defeat on penalties does not deter our qualification hopes, we still sit in first place with seven points. 

 

FA Women's League Cup
1 Manchester City Manchester City Man City 4 3 1 0 10 7 3 10 WLWWL
2 Manchester United FC Manchester United Man United 4 3 0 1 12 3 9 9 WWWL
3 Leicester City FC Leicester City Leicester 4 2 1 1 10 7 3 8 WWLW
Last updated: 18 April 2024

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Our next fixture sees us host Tottenham Hotspur in the Barclays Women Super League.

Kick-off is at 18:45 (UK) on the 26 November, with the match available to watch live on Sky Sports.

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