With defenders Maria Thorisdottir and Hannah Blundell back at Kingsmeadow, but playing for the opposition this time around in Manchester United, Chelsea were ought to show them what they will be missing from the treble-defending hosts in this Conti Cup semifinal encounter with Manchester United. And we would have the lion’s share of attacking chances, with Pernille Harder leading the charge.
So much we insisted, in spite of the referee not wanting to give fouls or advantages no matter how hard the challenge against us, that we eventually got the opener. Harder shined like the star she is, keeping composure despite tight marking from an opposing defender, and technique with great control on the ball to dribble goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley and score our first goal of the night.
Jessie Fleming would expand the lead to two goals five minutes later. A shot by Niamh Charles was deflected by United’s defence, and the Canadian international got our second with a header.
High action would continue, but not in our favour. United would pull one back a couple of minutes after Fleming’s goal, with a neat finish by Vilde Boe Risa.
Turns out we did not need to worry. Defender Jess Carter would show the instincts of a poaching centre-forward, wrapping up a great attacking move to the Blues and adding a third to the scoreline in our favour.
Would the second half be as crazy as the first one? Manchester United would surely try to do so! However the Blues were quite sharp in midfield and defence, limiting the visitors’ chances to bare threats at Zecira Musovic’s goal.
To the finals we go, for the third time in a row!
- A big occasion for Zecira Musovic, as she is selected to take goalkeeping duty over veteran Ann-Katrin Berger in this semifinal. Aniek Nouwen continues to impress and stake her claim as a starting centre-back, while Erin Cuthbert has yet another chance to shine (as she usually does!) by starting in place of attacking star Fran Kirby.
- Subs are Sam Kerr for Jessie Fleming, Lauren James for Pernille Harder, Drew Spence for Jonna Andersson, and Alsu Abdullina for Guro Reiten.
- Pernille Harder’s goal epitomises the kind of player she is. Even though it had been hard playing without a true no.9 “reference”, she stepped up and delivered.
- And Sam Kerr is back! Thank the heavens.
- Absurd refereeing where only a ridiculous challenge could lead to cards. Sophie Baggaley’s red card foul that thankfully did not hurt Kerr only a few minutes after her entrance was likely a result of it.
- Next up: Manchester City in the Women’s Super League.