Manchester United Women 2 Leicester City 2

Sunday 05 December 2021 14:28

Manchester United were beaten 4-3 on penalties by Leicester City, after drawing 2-2 in a competitive encounter at Leigh Sports Village in the FA Women’s Continental League Cup.

Goals from Alessia Russo and Katie Zelem drew Marc Skinner’s side level on two occasions after the goals from Sophie Howard and Natasha Flint gave Leicester the lead twice in a closely fought fixture that had to be decided on penalties.

The shootout result means that the Reds take one point from the match, while the visitors earned two. This leaves United second in Group B, on six points from three matches.
Staniforth on the ball for United.


United enjoyed most of the possession in the opening stages, but the early exchanges saw few clear-cut chances, with the best chance coming when Ona Batlle looked to have unleashed Russo in behind, but Leicester City’s defence recovered well.

Zelem and Batlle both went close before a big chance where Hannah Blundell broke down the left and found Lucy Staniforth alone at the back post, but the winger steered her shot narrowly wide. Moments later, Leah Galton did have the ball in the net, but was adjudged to have been offside.

Despite the Reds’ pressure, it was Leicester’s first corner of the match that brought the first goal. Howard rose highest at the near post to flick Purfield’s dangerous delivery beyond Sophie Baggaley, giving the visitors the lead just after the half-hour mark.

United responded positively in the search for an equaliser, and Galton went close, with her right-footed effort soaring narrowly over the crossbar. As the half drew to a close, Marc Skinner’s side continued to apply pressure on the Leicester defence. Zelem guided a header over the bar before the United captain saw a shot deflected wide. Millie Turner headed over from the resulting corner.


United almost equalised within a minute of the restart, but Russo mishit her shot following good work from Boe Risa down the right. However, Russo did bring the hosts level soon after when she exchanged passes with Galton before slotting home to score her fourth goal of the season.

The Reds almost went in front when Zelem’s long-distance strike looked destined for the top corner, only for Lambourne to produce a brilliant save to keep the score level.

Despite being pushed back, Leicester continued to offer a threat of their own, and Flint broke in behind one on one, but her touch let her down and Baggaley gathered. However, the same striker made no mistake when she pounced on a loose back pass and slotted home to reinstate the visitors’ lead.

The hosts replied once more, Zelem producing a sublime strike that looped over a helpless Lambourne and into the back of the net. Boe Risa flashed a shot just wide of the post in the closing stages, as the Reds continued to dominate possession and looked the more likely of the two sides to find a winner.
United's goalscorers Russo and Zelem celebrate together.

Leicester won 4-3 on penalties after Zelem and Boe Risa's spot-kicks were saved.


Baggaley; Blundell, Mannion, Turner (Ladd 67), Batlle; Staniforth (Hanson 78), Zelem (c); Boe Risa, Toone, Galton (Ferreira Fuso 88); Russo.

Subs not used: Earps, Murphy.

Goals: Russo 47, Zelem 80.

Booked: Galton, Toone.

Leicester City: Lambourne; Brougham, Mcmanus (c), Plumptre, Howard (Barker 12); Purfield, Tierney, O’Brien, De Graaf; Sigsworth, Flint.

Subs not used: Harris, Devlin, Grant, Zajmi.

Goals: Howard 32, Flint 79.

Booked: O’Brien.