An incredible strike from Yui Hasegawa was enough to see City progress to the last four of the Continental Cup in a hard-fought 1-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur.

In an otherwise cagey first half, the midfielder’s vicious long-range drive proved the difference on a day when she was also named Joie Player of the Month for January.

While we weren’t able to build on that lead, City were in control throughout proceedings en route to registering a third successive clean sheet in all competitions.

It means Gareth Taylor’s side have now won our last nine matches ahead of potentially crucial fixtures against Arsenal and Chelsea in the coming days.


What happened

City were in sparkling form ahead of our trip to Brisbane Road ahead of what could be a crucial two weeks in the context of our season.

With an FA Cup fifth round clash against title rivals Arsenal at the weekend, and a top-of-the-table WSL showdown at Chelsea to follow next Friday, a positive result against Spurs would’ve provided the perfect preparations for Taylor’s side.

And City’s intent was clear from the off, as Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw, so often on the scoresheet against Spurs, saw a deflected effort flash just wide of the far post inside two minutes.

Despite City enjoying large spells of possession, we were finding it tough to break down Spurs’ stubborn defensive block though, with Chloe Kelly seeing a vicious effort smothered by Barbora Votikova midway through the half in one of our brief sights of goal.

It would take a moment of genuine quality to break the deadlock, and it came from an unlikely source just after the half hour mark.

Hasegawa had only found the net once before in City colours with a stunning strike on her debut, but the midfielder repeated the trick with a venomous drive from distance.

Picking up play around 25 yards from goal following a short corner routine, the Japanese midfielder smacked an unstoppable effort into the net via the underside of the bar, giving Votikova no chance.

The goal gave City a boost, and Lauren Hemp tried to repeat the trick with an audacious effort of her own just before the break but saw her strike from distance thwarted by the Spurs stopper.

The visitors’ relative dominance continued after the break, with plenty of possession but few clearcut opportunities as the hour approached.

Perhaps the best chance in the early stages of the second half fell to Hemp, who hooked an effort well over the bar with her right foot from a promising position inside the area.

The England winger was inches from getting on the end of an inviting ball across the face of goal from Filippa Angeldahl soon after as City looked to turn the screw, while shouts for a penalty after Kelly went down just inside the area were quickly waved away by referee Amy Fearn.

With important matches coming up, Laura Coombs and Mary Fowler were brought on for some important second half minutes, and the latter went close soon after when she sent a volley just over the bar from a central position.

Jess Park was next to go close, firing an effort just wide of the mark after cutting in on her weaker left foot, before Fowler forced a fine reaction save from Votikova after getting in down the left.

Player of the Match: Yui Hasegawa

The Japan international provided a moment of quality to separate the sides and ultimately see City over the line.

So often praised for her ability in defending our own goal, Hasegawa takes the plaudits for the impact she made on the other one on this occasion.

What it means

City have made it to the last four of the Continental Cup for the third successive season.

Details for the semi-final draw will be announced in due course, with the ties set to take place on Wednesday 6 March and Thursday 7 March.

How we lined up

Gareth Taylor made two changes from the side who beat Leicester on Sunday, with Alanna Kennedy and Jess Park both included at the expense of Kerstin Casparij and Laura Coombs.

Khiara Keating started between the sticks, with Laia Aleixandri shifting to right-back in a defensive four alongside Kennedy, Alex Greenwood and Leila Ouahabi.

Yui Hasegawa started at the base of the midfield, with Park and Angeldahl given licence to get forward and join the attack.

At the sharp end, Kelly and Hemp started on either flank with Shaw at centre-forward.

CITY XI: Keating, Aleixandri, Kennedy, Greenwood, Ouahabi, Hasegawa, Angeldahl (Coombs 69’), Park, Kelly, Shaw (Fowler 69’), Hemp.

UNUSED SUBS: MacIver, Stokes, Morgan, Mace.

SPURS XI: Votikova, Grant, James-Turner, Bartrip (C), Nilden, Clinton (Ayane 78’), Bizet (Naz 58’), Graham, Thomas (Vinberg 67’), Summanen, Wang (England 46’)

UNUSED SUBS: Spencer, Brazil, Ahtinen, Buhler.

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Up next

City are in FA Cup action on Sunday 11 February when we face Arsenal at Meadow Park.

Kick-off is set for 12:30 (UK) as we battle it out with the Gunners for a place in the quarter-finals.

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