Conti Cup: Janina Leitzig comes up clutch with big save for Leicester

Janina Leitzig, Hannah Cain, Lena Petermann and Aileen Whelan of Leicester City celebrate
Janina Leitzig, Hannah Cain, Lena Petermann and Aileen Whelan of Leicester City celebrate after the Continental Tyres League Cup match vs Manchester City (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

After their resounding victory in the Manchester Derby, Manchester City welcomed Leicester to the Joie Stadium in the Conti Cup. It was far from the evening City expected though, coming away with a draw while the Foxes earned the bonus point from the penalty shootout.

Leicester took an early 2-0 lead in the first half, leaving a lot of work to do after the break. Gareth Taylor’s side were able to claw back two goals for the draw but were snubbed in the spot-kicks.

Starting XIs

Manchester City

Keating; Houghton (c), Coombs, Fowler, Kelly, Castellanos, Morgan, Park, Casparij, Mace, Blakstad

Leicester

Kop; Nevin, Tierney, Bott, Howard, Palmer, Whelan (c), Cayman, Green, Siemsen, Goodwin

How it went

A shaky start from Man City almost gifted the visitors an early lead. Several loose passes saw Khiara Keating forced to pull off a diving save to preserve her clean sheet. The opening 20 minutes of the tie were largely dominated by Leicester as Man City struggled to find their rhythm. Despite several good chances for the hosts, their lack of clinical edge began to take a toll as the first half drew to a close.

Leicester broke the deadlock through Janice Cayman in the 40th minute. Capitalising on a lovely through ball from Missy Goodwin, the Belgian international fired the ball home. Barely three minutes later, the Foxes doubled their lead as Sophie Howard headed the ball beyond Keating from a well-worked corner routine.

With the Sky Blues trailing at the break, their first-half performance was a far cry from the clinical masterclass displayed by Gareth Taylor’s side at Old Trafford.

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The second half brought a quick response from the hosts as Deyna Castellanos pulled a goal back just four minutes after the action resumed. After a period of prolonged period of pressure, the hosts finally got the equaliser.

A commanding run into the area saw Castellanos lay the ball off to Laura Coombs. Despite the crowded penalty area, the No.7 slotted the ball home to bring the tie level. Although both sides had several good chances to bag the winner, it remained level at full-time, sending the match to penalties.

After a total of 12 penalties, Leicester took the bonus point after winning the shootout 4-3. Star goalkeeper Janina Leitzig was brought off the bench specifically for the shootout.

The two points saw Leicester end the evening sitting third in Group B of the Conti Cup, having taken six points from their opening three fixtures.

Milestone appearances

The match saw two of Manchester City’s longest-serving players reach landmark appearances. Skipper Steph Houghton’s start marked her 50th league cup appearance for the Sky Blues.

Demi Stokes’ introduction shortly after half-time saw the defender finally reach 200 appearances for the club, becoming just the third to do so after Houghton and Keira Walsh.

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