Nine-player Man City cling on against Chelsea in chaotic WSL clash

Guro Reiten scores for Chelsea against Manchester City
Guro Reiten of Chelsea scores the team's first goal during the Barclays Women´s Super League match between Manchester City and Chelsea FC (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

In one of the heavyweight clashes of the Women’s Super League calendar, Manchester City welcomed current champions Chelsea to the Joie Stadium. At face value, the 1-1 result looked as though it was a quiet affair but it was anything but.

Man City were reduced to nine players after Alex Greenwood and Lauren Hemp were sent off either side of the break. Greenwood’s red card sparked a lot of debate among fans and professionals alike.

The two sides met back in March, with the Sky Blues taking all three points from a convincing 2-0 win. Both sides got their league campaign off to a strong start last weekend, with today’s hosts pulling off a dominant two-goal win over West Ham. Emma Hayes’ team kicked off their season with a 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in a thrilling curtain raiser at Stamford Bridge.

Starting XIs

Manchester City

Keating; Aleixandri, Greenwood (c) (Red ’38), Fowler, Kelly (Shaw ’80), Hemp, Angeldahl (Mace ’80), Morgan, Roord, Hasegawa, Kennedy

Chelsea

Musovic; Fishel, Bright (c), Ingle, Carter, James, Reiten, Lawrence (Perisset ’70), Fleming (Kirby ’61), Charles, Cuthbert (Leupolz ’60)

How it went

Man City enjoyed the slightly stronger start in front of a packed out Joie Stadium. The strong link-up play between City’s forward players allowed the Sky Blues to maintain a strong press throughout much of the early play.

A perfectly placed through ball from Khiara Kheating saw the ball fall perfectly to the hosts front line with Chloe Kelly smashing the ball home from 25 yards out. As the game reached the 25th minute, the visitors began to increase the pressure on their opponents.

A flurry of chances for Hayes’ side saw the hosts forced to defend for long spells of the first half. Just as it appeared City were finding their footing a bizarre second yellow for Greenwood for apparent time wasting saw the hosts reduced to 10 with almost an hour to play. The captain’s dismissal was followed by a string of yellows for the hosts, including goalscorer Kelly.

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A foul on Hemp saw a significant break in play at the start of the second half. The No.15 required a lengthy period of treatment on the pitch. Despite being a player down, City managed to keep the WSL champions at bay throughout the second half. Hemp was later sent off after picking up a second yellow. The hosts were forced to play out the final minutes with just nine players.

With Alanna Kennedy requiring treatment off the pitch, the hosts were made to defend a corner with just eight players. Despite Kheating pulling off a strong initial save, the City keeper was beaten at her near post as the ball rolled beyond her reach.

Despite resilient defending from City, Guro Reiten’s stoppage goal was enough to snatch a point for Chelsea.

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