Manchester City Women crashed out of the Continental Cup last night, losing 4-2 at home to Chelsea. Goals from Chloe Kelly and Lauren Hemp looked to have put City into the semi-final after Melanie Leupol had given the visitors the lead. A brilliant finish from Niamh Charles in the 89th minute forced extra time, and Chelsea substitutes Guro Reiten and Sophie Ingle both scored to send Chelsea through.
City went into the tie on the back of a 7-0 victory over Aston Villa at the weekend, and for periods in the game, looked to have matched Chelsea stride for stride, but without the cutting edge that saw them score six goals without reply in Sunday’s first half.
Instead, it was Chelsea who looked the more dangerous and both Beth England and Sam Kerr went close to opening the scoring. England failed to connect to Erin Cuthbert’s cross, while Australian Kerr, who missed a hatful of chances against the blues in the Community Shield, hit the side netting after ten minutes.
Chelsea thought they should have been awarded a penalty when Lucy Bronze’s challenge on Cuthbert saw the Chelsea star end on the floor, but the referee was not interested. City’s usual flow of play was being disrupted by Emma Hayes well-marshalled midfield and it was no surprise when the visitors went in front just before the break. Alex Greenwood sliced her attempted clearance and Leupol pounced to fire past Karen Bardsley in the City goal.
City picked up a little after the break and were level within seven minutes of the restart, and it was down to the sheer persistence of Chloe Kelly. The former Everton striker harried Magdalena Eriksson in the penalty area, won the ball and fired into the far corner.
Rocked by the goal, Chelsea came back, with England and Kerr once again threatening the City goal. England fired over the bar and Kerr was well off target again as the visitors looked to retake the lead. And it looked like Chelsea would pay for those misses when Hemp put the blues ahead with just five minutes to go.
A loose ball in the box was controlled by the youngster, before firing home to leave the holders staring down the barrel of defeat. Unfortunately for City, it wasn’t to be as substitute Charles scored a stunning volley from 20 yards, which flew past Bardsley to send the tie into extra time.
City were beginning to tire and it showed. The blues were growing frustrated and mis-placing passes, while the visitors remained composed on the ball. Within 6 minutes of the restart, Reiten was allowed the freedom of the penalty area to slot the ball into an empty net and Ingle made sure of the victory in the 106th minute, hitting a superb first-time strike into the top corner, leaving Bardsley with no chance, and City’s cup dreams in tatters.
Final Score: Manchester City Women 2-4 Chelsea