Manchester United have taken the Women’s Super League title fight all the way to the last day of the season after Lucia Garcia scored a stoppage time winner to beat 10-player Manchester City 2-1 at Leigh Sports Village.
The hosts needed to win or else Chelsea, 2-0 winners over Arsenal earlier in the day, would have clinched the trophy before the final round of matches.
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Playing like a team with their entire season on the line, United fired out of the blocks and were quickly rewarded for their positive play when a half-clearance dropped to Hayley Ladd to curl her effort into the top right corner.
Despite their advantage, or maybe because of it, the hosts eased off of the throttle to open the game up and rode their luck when Chloe Kelly could only cannon Bunny Shaw’s blocked effort off of the upright.
Having grown into the game, City drew another sterling block in the box, this time from Hannah Blundell to deny Filippa Angeldahl.
Heading into half-time a goal down but well in the game, City’s chances of turning the tide took a meaty blow when Ellie Roebuck came steaming out of her box and cleared Nikita Parris out, prompting a straight red card from referee Rebecca Welch.
Just as she had in the first half, Kelly saw an effort, albeit a deflected one, bounce off of the woodwork moments before Shaw was denied a clear penalty when Ladd kicked her boot, rather than the ball, in the box.
A flurry of chances came the way of the hosts, but, just like last time out, they failed to take those presented and their title challenge looked doomed when Angeldahl’s cross-shot snuck under the bar in the 68th minute.
With the three points crucial to both team’s seasons, the sides amped up the pressure to go for a winner as the clock ticked down and not long after City sub Hayley Raso sent an effort just wide of Mary Earps‘ post, the United players that came off the bench combined to snatch a dramatic stoppage-time winner.
From Blundell’s deep cross, Vilde Boe Risa nodded the ball back into the mixer for Garcia to get out of her feet and lash home, beating 18-year-old Khiara Keating in the City goal.
The result means United still have a chance of claiming the WSL title next week away to Liverpool should Chelsea either lose to Reading or if Chelsea draw and United find more than five unanswered goals.
For City, the loss keeps them in fourth and needing a jaw-dropping win against Everton next week as well as an Arsenal loss, if they are to climb into the third European berth.