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Manchester United 2-1 Manchester City: Lucia Garcia goal keeps Red Devils’ WSL title hopes alive


Hayley Ladd scores for Manchester United against Manchester City
Hayley Ladd has scored four league goals for United this season

Manchester United’s Lucia Garcia scored an injury-time winner in a dramatic derby against Manchester City to keep the Red Devils’ faint Women’s Super League title chances alive.

United’s victory means any hopes of a title celebration Chelsea had after their win over Arsenal on Sunday will have to wait until the last day of the season – when Emma Hayes’ side can clinch a fourth successive WSL crown against relegation-threatened Reading.

In a first half filled with drama Hayley Ladd fired United ahead inside two minutes with a superb strike from 20 yards out.

City keeper Ellie Roebuck was sent off for a reckless challenge on Nikita Parris just before half-time and it seemed certain United would finally get the better of their rivals, having never beaten them in the league before.

But after the hosts failed to clear a corner, Filippa Angeldahl collected the ball and sent in a looping cross which found its way into the back of the net to level the match.

City looked set to secure a point and put an end to United’s hopes of a maiden title, but Garcia’s composed finish from Vilde Boe Risa’s knockdown in the 91st minute left the jubilant home fans holding on to one last hope of silverware.

The victory also means United are guaranteed a top-three finish and a place in next year’s Champions League.

They head into the final day two points behind Chelsea, and must beat Liverpool – and hope a Reading side who are facing the drop can do them a favour – to win the title.

Meanwhile, City are fourth and will likely finish the season there regardless of results on the last day of the season, due to third-placed Arsenal’s superior goal difference.

United leave it late to take title race to wire

Lucia Garcia celebrates with Vilde Boe Risa
Manchester United produced another late show in the Women’s Super League to claim victory

United started the game at a blistering pace, pressing high and with speed and catching City off guard.

The crowd played their part, too, turning the volume up a few notches every time the home side attacked – and they did not have to wait long to be treated to a sensational goal from Ladd, who picked her spot from 20 yards out and left Roebuck with no chance.

But City’s Lauren Hemp then showed United they could not switch off – the England attacker raced down the left-hand side and beat Maya Le Tissier. When Mary Earps came out to claim the resulting corner the home crowd cheered just as much as they did Ladd’s opener.

After Roebuck was shown red United looked to unsettle replacement keeper Khiara Keating, and Leah Galton fired a volley over the bar from Ona Batlle’s cross.

Galton went close again from Alessia Russo’s inviting ball across the face of goal but poked her shot wide and United were soon left to rue the amount of chances they had spurned when Angeldahl equalised.

But Garcia popped up with a late winner, as she has on several occasions this season, to salvage hope for the ecstatic home fans.

Top three out of sight for City

Ellie Roebuck sent off for Man City
Ellie Roebuck’s red card left her side with10 players for more than half of the match

City had to weather the storm in the opening 20 minutes and did well to emerge trailing by just one goal – but after that they enjoyed their own spell of possession and chances.

Hemp found Bunny Shaw in front of goal but her shot was blocked by Hannah Blundell and Chloe Kelly hammered her follow-up volley off the post.

But just as they were starting to create some openings, Roebuck’s moment of recklessness saw the visitors reduced to 10 players and facing an uphill challenge in the second half.

A player down, City made the most of their set-piece opportunities – Kelly hit the underside of the bar from Alex Greenwood’s free-kick and they finally got the goal through Angeldahl when United failed to clear a corner.

City also had chances of their own to win the game, with Yui Hasegawa failing to convert Kelly’s pass, leaving the visitors’ players with their hands on their heads wondering how it had not gone in, and a nervy final few minutes could have seen either side net a winner.

But City are now set to miss out on a top-three place for the first time since 2014, their maiden season in the league, on account of Arsenal’s vastly superior goal difference.

Line-ups

Man Utd Women

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 27Earps
  • 2Batlle
  • 15Le Tissier
  • 21Turner
  • 6Blundell
  • 12Ladd
  • 10ZelemBooked at 90mins
  • 22ParrisSubstituted forGarcíaat 75′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 7TooneSubstituted forBøe Risaat 75′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 11GaltonSubstituted forThomasat 90+3′minutes
  • 23RussoSubstituted forWilliamsat 66′minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Bøe Risa
  • 9Thomas
  • 14Riviere
  • 16Naalsund
  • 17García
  • 20Tounkara
  • 28Williams
  • 29Cascarino
  • 32Baggaley

Man City Women

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1RoebuckBooked at 42mins
  • 14Morgan
  • 6Houghton
  • 5Greenwood
  • 15OuahabiSubstituted forKeatingat 44′minutes
  • 25Hasegawa
  • 12AngeldahlBooked at 77mins
  • 9Kelly
  • 7CoombsSubstituted forCastellanosat 82′minutes
  • 11HempSubstituted forRasoat 76′minutes
  • 21Shaw

Substitutes

  • 2Casparij
  • 10Castellanos
  • 13Raso
  • 35Keating
  • 42Dahou

Referee:
Rebecca Welch

Attendance:
7,864

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