Manchester United out of Conti Cup despite penalty shoot-out win over rivals Manchester City
Manchester United were knocked out of the FA Women’s Continental League Cup despite winning a penalty shoot-out against Manchester City after a goalless draw saw them pick up just two points.
The Red Devils needed to win the match in the 90 minutes to collect the three points required to stand a chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals, and they started brightly when Lauren James forced Karen Bardsley into a smart save from a venomous effort on the edge of the box.
The visitors thought they had gone in front shortly before the break when Janine Beckie flicked on a cross and Georgia Stanway thumped a powerful drive into the bottom corner, but she had drifted offside.
After the break United began to take control of the game and should have gone in front when a back pass saw Bardsley miss the ball with her clearance and allow Tobin Heath a chance on goal, but the American waited too long to get her shot off and eventually only found the side netting.
Both sides went for a winner in the closing stages and it was substitute Sam Mewis who came closest for City when her looping cross had United keeper Emily Ramsey stranded before it hit the top of the crossbar.
But it was United sub Jess Sigsworth who had the best chance of the match in stoppage time as a swift counter-attack saw Ella Toone slide her in one-on-one, only for the Red Devils striker to be thwarted by the legs of Bardsley.
That save from the England shot-stopper ended United’s hopes of reaching the last eight of the Conti Cup and simultaneously booked City’s place in the quarter-finals.
But there was still a penalty shoot-out to be played.
After one successful spot kick each, Laura Coombs stepped up and was denied by a brilliant save from Emily Ramsey.
Five more penalties were successfully converted before City full-back Alex Greenwood, who was playing against her former club, crashed her effort against the bar to hand United the victory.