Tottenham 1-1 (4-3p) Manchester City: Spurs reach FA Cup semifinals on penalties after England forces extra time

Sunday’s Adobe Women’s FA Cup quarterfinal clash at Brisbane Road came as the fourth meeting between Tottenham and Manchester City throughout the 2023/24 season – with the Lilywhites defeated on the previous three occasions, though the deficit has decreased each time.

But with Manchester City having slipped up at home to Chelsea in midweek, Robert Vilahamn’s side would be looking to take advantage of a rare slip in Cityzens momentum. The Lilywhites were forced into a late change to their starting lineup however, with Molly Bartrip replaced by Luana Bühler due to illness.

TOT: Spencer; Nildén, Bühler, James-Turner, Neville; Clinton, Ahninnen, Summanen; Naz, Thomas, Bizet

MCI: Keating; Ouahabi, Aleixandri, Greenwood, Casparij; Angeldahl, Hasegawa; Fowler, Park, Hemp; Shaw

Unfortunately for the Spurs contingent inside Brisbane Road, the performance in the opening stages would reflect the rather dreary, grey weather in North London. The Lilywhites were swiftly pegged back after just six minutes, with Mary Fowler’s strike from the edge of the box bobbling and catching Becky Spencer off-guard.

Embed from Getty Images

Robert Vilahamn’s side did look to bounce back soon after, with Jess Naz proving to be a livewire at times on the left flank – but her best effort in the opening half-hour or so came in the form of an attempted flick at the near post that was sent behind for a corner.

Coming into the side as one of two changes from a midweek Conti Cup loss to Chelsea, Fowler was arguably the brightest spark in this Cityzens side that should perhaps fancy themselves as favourites to lift the Adobe Women’s FA Cup. Not content with the solitary goal, she attempted another flicked finish – though this effort was held well by Spencer.

To their credit, Spurs did improve as the half-time interval drew nearer. Naz was unlucky to be beaten to the ball by Khiara Keating in there 44th minute, after dashing forwards to chase a long ball that threatened to cancel out City’s early lead.

Manchester City, as expected, forced the better chances throughout the first ten minutes of the second half, with Khadija Shaw perhaps unlucky not to open her personal account for the day – but a foul on Naz on the right flank sparked a flurry of chances for the Lilywhites, though the hosts couldn’t convert from inside the box.

Embed from Getty Images

Grace Clinton came just inches away from finding the back in spectacular fashion as the hour mark approached, with the Manchester United loanee seeing her curling effort fly just wide of the far post; it looked as though it would be another frustrating afternoon at the office for Tottenham.

Shaw hobbled off with twenty minutes of regulation time remaining, having sustained a knock following a collision in the box – it’s one that Gareth Taylor will be hoping isn’t too serious, as the Cityzens continue to chase the league title.

The home supporters felt that they should have been awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box within the final ten minutes as Celin Bizet was tripped, though the flag had already been raised for an earlier offside against the Norwegian.

But despite the frenzy of late chances, Spurs never looked capable of scoring. That notion was perhaps never displayed more clearly than Bethany England’s late miss, with the substitute blazing over the bar from close range when it would likely have been easier to score.

But with less than a minute remaining of stoppage time, a probing ball from Amy James-Turner forced a rare error from the Manchester City defence – allowing England to make amends for her earlier blunder as she fired home into an open goal to force thirty minutes of extra time.

Embed from Getty Images

The first half of extra time was a cagey affair, with a lack of clear-cut chances for either side. That changed swiftly as the final fifteen minutes commenced, with Chloe Kelly forcing a reactionary save from Spencer inside the opening minute.

As the clock ticked into the final ten minutes and with the threat of a penalty shootout drawing ever closer, England could have sent the Lilywhites through to the semifinals – but her header was skewed over the bar in a disappointing finish to a promising attacking play.

With the match to be decided by a penalty shootout after neither side could find the winner, Manchester City got off to a nightmare start as Alex Greenwood saw her effort saved convincingly by Spencer. England stepped up next seeking to hand Spurs the lead, beating Keating to cue raptures amongst the home fans.

The travelling contingent couldn’t quite believe their misfortunes when Kelly saw her effort stopped by Spencer too, but their mood was bolstered slightly as Rosella Ayane saw her strike denied too. Yui Hasegawa buried her effort to open City’s account with their third attempt, but Amanda Nildén rose to the challenge and also picked out the back of the net to maintain Spurs’ advantage.

Filippa Angeldahl converted her effort from twelve yards too, but when Shuang Wang slammed home, the pressure would ultimately fall on Fowler. Having opened the scoring after six minutes, it would fall upon the Australian to score and keep Manchester City in contention – and that she did.

The pressure then fell to Amy James-Turner – score and Spurs progress. That she did, stunning Manchester City in the process as Spurs reach the semifinals of the Adobe Women’s FA Cup for the first time in their history.

Embed from Getty Images

Tottenham will now face either Leicester City, Manchester United or Chelsea in the semifinals, with the draw set to take place on Tuesday morning. Should they face Manchester United at any point in the competition, Robert Vilahamn’s Lilywhites will be without Grace Clinton due to eligibility rules.

There is a return to Barclays Women’s Super League action for both teams next weekend though, with Tottenham hosting Leicester City while Manchester City head to the Broadfield Stadium to face Brighton.