City Claim Double with Conti Cup Win

Manchester City collected their second Continental Cup in three years thanks to a hard fought extra time win over Birmingham City at the Academy Stadium.

The games first chance fell to Brimingham City as Kirsty Linnett was afforded too much space 25 yards out but her shot whistled just past the post with Marie Hourihan scrambling across her goal.

 

The game was an open physical affair with neither side relenting with Jess Carter and Keira Walsh involved in several big 50/50 challenges early on. The first save of the game came on 15 when Jill Scott evaded Meaghan Sargeant inside the penalty after a nice ball through but instead of shooting squared it; the clearance only reached Jen Beattie but Ann-Katrin Berger was equal to the Scottish international’s effort pushing it away.

Jill Scott was instrumental in midfield and almost created the opening goal on 26 minutes as she cut a lovely through pass inside from the right into the path of Nikita Parris but again Berger was equal to the task saving low down to her left. Scott was influential again on 39 minutes as she released Toni Duggan down the left hand side who raced into the box but saw her shot across goal palmed away by Berger.

The second half began as a much tighter affair with neither side creating much in the way of chances. The first real chance of the second half didn’t arrive until 69 minutes when substitute Kosovare Asllani, on in place of Nikita Parris, went through one-on-one after she’d done superbly to evade her marker following Jane Ross’s pass, but she tried to round Berger who did superbly to pounce on the ball.

The final minutes became fractious and increasingly end-to-end as legs tired but neither side could force a winner as Manchester City were held in front of goal for just the second time this season in all competitions.

City began the brighter of the two teams in extra time with Birmingham forced deeper and deeper as Toni Duggan curled just over from the edge of the area. The deadlock was broken in the 104th minute as a City corner was whipped in, Berger missed her punch and Bronze pounced to loop her header into the top left hand corner.

The lead was almost doubled in the first minute of the second half of extra time as a superb move down the right saw Asllani’s low cross reach Tessel Middag whose first time effort cannoned off the inside of the post with the Birmingham goalkeeper well beaten.

That was the last of the action as final 15 minutes saw little in terms of goal mouth action but City hung on to claim their second trophy of the season and record a memorable double.

Player of the Match: Ann-Katrin Berger (Birmingham City)

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