Match Report

City reach Continental Cup quarter-finals despite shootout defeat

City reach Continental Cup quarter-finals despite shootout defeat
FA Women's League Cup
FA Women's League Cup
Thu 19 Nov
Man United win 4-3 on penalties
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Manchester City are through to the Continental Cup quarter-finals despite losing on penalties to Manchester United following a 0-0 draw in our final group stage game.

Laura Coombs and Alex Greenwood both missed as the home side won 4-3 in the shootout, but the point claimed for the draw after 90 minutes was enough for Gareth Taylor’s side to top Group C.

What happened

The eventful 2-2 draw played out between the two teams five days earlier was a stark contrast to this cup clash.

Then, City came flying out the blocks, before United rallied in the second half, but this was an even encounter throughout in which clear cut chances were at a premium.

Taylor’s side edged the first half, controlling possession and having the better of the scarce goalmouth action.

The lively Georgia Stanway had the ball in the back of the net, executing a superb volley from Jill Scott’s flick on, but the assistant referee flagged for offside to cut short the celebrations.

United’s best chance fell to Lauren James, who forced a smart save from Karen Bardsley when she met Tobin Heath’s cutback with a fierce drive.

It was a fine stop from the City goalkeeper, but she, along with United’s Emily Ramsey, enjoyed some heart-stopping moments.

Janine Beckie diverted a Ramsey clearance just wide of the goal after the 'keeper hesitated in possession, whilst Bardsley breathed a sigh of relief when she saved from Kirsty Hanson after conceding possession under pressure from Katie Zelem.

Bardsley’s miskick presented United with a golden opportunity shortly after the break, but Heath didn’t capitalise and when Greenwood and Gemma Bonner got back to cover, she drilled into the side netting.

Taylor sent on Ellen White and Sam Mewis in a bid to break the deadlock and whilst clear cut opportunities continued to prove elusive, the woodwork twice prevented City from taking the lead.

A Mewis cross deceived Ramsey, but bounced back off the bar, whilst the foot of the post came to United’s rescue when Beckie’s low corner was diverted towards goal in a crowded penalty area.

Both sides might have nicked it late on, with Keira Walsh fizzing an 18-yard effort just over the bar, before Bardsley stretched out a leg to deny Jess Sigsworth a match winner in the dying seconds.

And so to penalties, where United held their nerve to convert four successful spot kicks, with Coombs seeing her effort saved by Ramsey, before Greenwood’s shot came back off the bar.

what it means

We end our group campaign on seven points, with two wins and a draw from our three games, which means we can't be caught in top spot.

Liverpool have three points and whilst United and Everton still have to face each other in their final game, six points is the best either team could achieve.

How we lined up

Taylor had intimated beforehand that he would make changes for this game and he delivered on that promise, replacing seven players who started in the 2-2 draw with United five days earlier.

Bardsley replaced Ellie Roebuck in goal, while Bonner, Esme Morgan, Jill Scott, Caroline Weir, Jess Park and Beckie all returned to the starting line-up.

Lucy Bronze and Greenwood joined Bonner and Morgan in the back four protecting Bardsley’s goal, with the latter deployed at left-back in what was her first appearance in a Manchester derby.

Walsh, Weir and Scott, who captained the side in Steph Houghton’s absence, formed the midfield three, with Stanway and Park either side of Beckie in the forward line.

Megan Campbell, who has been out since January with a foot injury, made her return to the matchday squad amongst the substitutes, whilst Rose Lavelle was left out of the squad as a precaution after picking up a slight knock in training.

Up next

The upcoming international break means there is now a two week pause in the domestic calendar.

City return to league action on Saturday 6 December with an away trip to Everton, before a blockbuster clash with Arsenal on Sunday 13 December at the Academy Stadium.

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