With Manchester City and Chelsea both having recorded wins in their opening fixtures, two titans would clash at the recently-renamed Joie Stadium on Sunday – with the match set to be an early indicator of the potential outcome of the title fight.
MCI: Keating; Aleixandri, Greenwood, Kennedy, Morgan; Roord, Hasegawa, Angeldahl; Kelly, Hemp, Fowler
CHE: Mušović; Charles, Carter, Bright, Lawrence; Cuthbert, Ingle; Reiten, Fleming, James; Fishel
Emily Heaslip stole the show with her dismal refereeing performance in Manchester on Sunday, dishing out a staggering ten yellow cards over the course of the match – with two players dismissed for a second bookable offence.
Chloe Kelly had fired the hosts into the lead after just seven minutes at the Joie Stadium, picking out the back of the net with a thunderous long-range effort from the edge of the area.
But City found themselves reduced to ten after dominating the opening half hour, with Alex Greenwood shown a second yellow card after taking her time over a free-kick inside her own half. Kelly, Laia Aleixandri and Jill Roord joined Lauren James and Niamh Charles in the referee’s book, with the trio all cautioned for dissent after protesting their teammate’s dismissal.Embed from Getty Images
Yet despite a strong first-half showing, Manchester City found themselves under pressure for large parts of the final period – with Sam Kerr’s half-time introduction proving to be gamechanger for Emma Hayes’ side.
Heaslip would further infuriate an already outraged home crowd in the 81st minute, when she showed Lauren Hemp her second yellow card of the match – forcing Manchester City to see out the final ten minutes with just nine outfield players on the pitch. But the cards would appear once more, with Gareth Taylor seeing yellow for his protests in the technical area.
And despite a phenomenal performance throughout much of the second half, Khiara Keating was left stranded when Guro Reiten poked home a close-range equaliser in the 96th minute to restore parity. City had just eight players on the pitch when the goal was scored, with Alanna Kennedy receiving treatment as the ball crossed the line.Embed from Getty Images
Still though, Heaslip’s yellow card would make another appearance – with Jelena Čanković booked for a foul on Khadija Shaw.
Sam Kerr could have rescued all three points for Chelsea with just seconds remaining, although she nodded her headed effort against the woodwork.
Manchester City return to the Joie Stadium next weekend as they host newly-promoted Bristol City, while Chelsea host West Ham United at Kingsmeadow on Saturday.