The last time Man City and Chelsea met in Manchester it ended in a 3-3 draw… with the goals proving enough to win the Blues the title in a Covid-truncated season. This time, in the Conti Cup quarter-final on Wednesday night, it looked like ending in a similar scoreline… until Chelsea went up a gear
The last time Man City and Chelsea met in Manchester it ended in a 3-3 draw… with the goals proving enough to win the Blues the title in a Covid-truncated season.
This time, in the Conti Cup quarter-final on Wednesday night, it looked like ending in a similar scoreline… until Chelsea went up a gear in extra time to clinch a magnificent 4-2 win.
The game had been a slow burner, with both sides playing a cagey, wary style, not wanting to give anything away to their arch-rivals as the rain from Storm Christoph drummed down furiously.
Chelsea took the lead a minute before halftime. An Erin Cuthbert free kick was volleyed home by Mel Leupolz, pictured below being congratulated by Millie Bright. Steph Houghton’s despairing attempted goal line clearance failed to prevent the Blues going one-up.
City levelled eight minutes after the restart through Chloe Kelly’s persistence. Magda Eriksson lingered on her clearance, and Kelly pounced to poke home.
An evenly matched game looked to have gone City’s way with just five minutes remaining when Lauren Hemp’s stab flew in as Chelsea again failed to clear their lines.
But Naimh Charles (pictured doing her drowned mouse impression, top), on for the misfiring Sam Kerr in the dying minutes, stepped up with a magnificent volley after chesting down Guro Reiten’s centred lob. The ball flew home for 2-2 and extra time.
In the 95th minute, Reiten stretched to convert a Pernille Harder cross, and managed to stroke it in for 2-3.
Then, as the first period of extra time was about to end, Sophie Ingle produced what she occasionally does… a wondergoal. As City failed to clear, the ball came out to Reiten, who teed up her team-mate. Ingle’s shot was clean, true and unstoppable into the top corner from 25 yards, leaving Ellie Roebuck beaten.
At 2-4 City had no response in the second half of extra time, were unable to breach the Royal blue wall, and Chelsea manager Emma Hayes was able to bring on Jessie Fleming in place of Beth England for the last 15 minutes.
This proved an enthralling League Cup encounter, and gave Hayes her first victory at the Academy stadium. City hadn’t been beaten on the ground since 2018, but the jinx has ended.
Ann-Katrin Berger was in the wars after a couple of hard challenges, but with Carly Telford warming up in the stair-rod rain, Berger battled on.
In the final seconds, Hayes could be heard bellowing ‘Keep going!’ to her girls… and they did.
Chelsea, after their seventh successive victory in all competitions, now meet either Durham or West Ham in the Conti semis, determined to hang on to the trophy they won as the first lockdown bit.