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Continental League Cup semi-final round up

From 23 teams down to four with 57 matches played and 235 goals scored, the final quartet of teams took to the pitches in Borehamwood and Leigh to split the remaining field in half and confirm who would be contesting the Continental Cup final next month.

Arsenal 2-1 Manchester City

The only two teams to have won the WSL league cup, when Arsenal were drawn against Manchester City, it was guaranteed that the current or previous holders would be in the final. A match-up that has historically hinged on home field advantage, Arsenal made sure to hit the ground running in Hertfordshire, pressing the visiting defence and swamping the midfield. The early pressure paid dividends and soon the Gunners had the advantage when Beth Mead stabbed the ball through to Vivianne Miedema, the Dutchwoman touching the ball away from Steph Houghton before finding the bottom corner.

One became two when Miedema found Daniëlle van de Donk, the diminutive attacker’s low shot awkwardly dribbling through Ellie Roebuck’s gloves as she dropped to her knees to claim the weak shot.

Better after the break, City managed to cause more problems going forward and the dynamic work on half-time substitute Lauren Hemp saw the visitors win a penalty for a foul on Hemp. Despite her good goal return from 12-yards, Ellen White could only see her spot kick saved by Manuela Zinsberger but to the elation of the Citizens, the ball found the back of the net from the resulting corner as it flew it off of Gemma Bonner’s boot.

The goal only worked to bring the hosts back into the game and they did well to keep the ball from City for the last half hour, leaving the visitors chasing shadows as the game wore down.

Manchester United 0-1 Chelsea

As the time ticked away in Leigh, the goals seemed to be reserved for the match in the south, neither United nor Chelsea able to take their better chances in a frustrating game. The best chance of the first half fell to the visitors at a set piece, Millie Bright’s header drawing a fine save from Mary Earps to push the ball up onto the bar and away from danger.

Bright was involved again after the break, this time for leaning on Jess Sigsworth, the United woman going down under challenge from the defender but to the chagrin of home fans, the referee remained unmoved. No sooner had Chelsea moved the ball back up the pitch than they finally broke the deadlock, Erin Cuthbert’s swept ball finding Maren Mjelde for the Norwegian to progress and slip over Earps from a near-impossible angle. Just like when the two met in the league last year, Mjelde’s goal proved to be the difference come the whistle.

The Conti Cup final will take place at the City Ground, Nottingham on 29 February at 5.30pm

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