Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea: Reds reach Wembley with first-ever win over Chelsea

Manchester United will face Tottenham Hotspur in the Adobe Women’s FA Cup final on May 12, after recording their first-ever win over Chelsea at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday afternoon.

Marc Skinner’s side led through Lucia García inside the opening minute, before doubling their lead midway through the first half when Rachel Williams nodded home a powerful header.

Chelsea clawed their way back into contention just before the break when Lauren James struck past Mary Earps, but the Red Devils held on to claim their first victory over Chelsea and deal the Blues their first loss in this competition in 1,295 days.

As it happened

When these sides met under the Wembley arch almost a year ago, it was Chelsea that emerged victorious after a dominant showing from the now-injured Sam Kerr. The result came as no surprise – United were appearing in their first-ever final, and had never beaten the Blues.

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Heading into this enthralling semifinal, pressure sat firmly on the shoulders of Marc Skinner, accused of underperforming with this side as they sit some way adrift of European qualification – while Chelsea’s Emma Hayes has come under fire for her comments in recent months.

But as should be the case with football, the focus was on the players on Sunday. Lucia García wasted no time in opening Manchester United’s account, nodding home from a Leah Galton cross at the far post.

Chelsea would be stunned again after 23 minutes, with Ella Toone showcasing her technical ability on the left flank – delivering another cross into the box that was headed past a despairing Hannah Hampton by Rachel Williams.

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The Blues fought back though; Lauren James’ stoppage-time goal handed them a lifeline as she emphatically fired past Mary Earps just before the break.

Emma Hayes’ side were the stronger of the two teams when they re-emerged for the final period at Leigh Sports Village, with James’ search for a brace halted by a fine save from Earps.

The Manchester United goalkeeper would be remarkably busy throughout the half, with a performance that demonstrated just why she is valued so much by Marc Skinner and England’s Sarina Wiegman – including a save from Melanie Leupolz on her 30th birthday.

Manchester United held on, with resolute defending bringing an end to Chelsea’s remarkable unbeaten run in this competition. The Red Devils first-ever win over the Blues seals their progression to the Adobe Women’s FA Cup final, where they’ll face Tottenham Hotspur.

The lineups

MUN: Earps; Blundell, Turner, Le Tissier, Mannion; Zelem, Naalsund; Galton, Toone, García; Williams

CHE: Hampton; Charles, Buchanan, Carter, Périsset; Reiten, Cuthbert, Leupolz, Rytting Kaneryd; Ramírez, James