Manchester City 2-1 Manchester United: City hold on to beat rivals United in Conti Cup clash

Manchester City hosted Manchester United in a midweek Conti Cup clash on Wednesday evening, with Gareth Taylor’s side looking to topple the Red Devils again after cruising to victory at Old Trafford in November.

MCI: Keating; Aleixandri; Greenwood; Coombs; Kelly; Hemp; Ouahabi; Casparij; Roord; Shaw; Hasegawa

MUN: Tullis-Joyce; Le Tissier; Blundell; Guerrero; Zelem; Evans; Naalsund; Garcia; Turner; Parris; Williams

Ahead of the clash, United had secured three Cup wins, beating Everton, Liverpool and Leicester City. The hosts, on the other hand, sat two points behind their neighbours – taking it to penalties with the Foxes in November.

City’s intent was clear, with manager Gareth Taylor naming a full-strength squad – unchanged from last weekend’s triumph over Liverpool. However, the Red Devils opened up play, attacking from the off.

An early corner and a number of opportune runs falsely assumed United as the stronger side, with the Blues battling down the wing on the counter.

In similar fashion to Dutch teammate Kerstin Casparij last weekend, Man City were forced to replace Jill Roord with Filippa Angeldahl within the first ten minutes of the game, eliminating a huge threat within City’s armoury.

The physicality was a crucial element of the first half, causing a scrappy rhythm to the match. City’s prolific goal scorer, Bunny Shaw, awarded the hosts their first shot on target, though her shot fell into the safe hands of United’s Phallon Tullis-Joyce – who once again made a start in the Conti Cup.

In the dying minutes of the first half, Shaw gave City another chance at an opener, capitalising off Tullis-Joyce’s rebound but failed to convert. In response, Khiara Keating was forced to make a stunning save to prevent conceding ahead of the break, with United pressing higher.

The final seconds made for a thrilling watch as Chloe Kelly hit the post with a powerful shot from far out, missing the netting by centimetres. The first half ended goalless with the game flowing end to end, opportunities coming regularly for both sides.  

Perhaps a galvanising half-time talk inspired drive in the hosts, as Chloe Kelly soon found the back of the net, placing the Blues ahead in the derby.

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City aimed to double their lead as Lauren Hemp struck at goal but was denied, with the ball being pushed over the bar by the tips of Tullis-Joyce’s fingers.

The match proved to play further into the blue side of Manchester as Dutch international Casparij found the ball at her feet in the box, passing to Hemp who slotted it over the line to take City 2-0 up.

The Reds searched for a consolation prize with Brazilian star Geyse creating chances after coming off the bench. With the addition of a hefty nine minutes of injury times, United’s hope was not dead and buried – however, there was no sign of City quelling their pace.

Despite this, Nikita Parris, who had found tempo against her former club, ignited a comeback from the visitors, striking five minutes short of the whistle, as the visitors gained a goal back. United attempted a last gasp equaliser, but it was the fans in blue who erupted at the final whistle, with the away section emptying rapidly.