A late Alessia Russo header helped Manchester United make it to the semi-final of the Continental League Cup, as the Reds grabbed their second consecutive victory of 2022.
Despite coming off the back of a pretty dominating 5-0 win over Birmingham City in the Super League, the first half proved to be a cagey affair for both sides. The game was too midfield-dominated as neither Sophie Baggaley or Manuela Zinsberger were called upon to make a prominent save in the first 45 minutes.
Toone had come closest to opening the scoring for United but her low effort from a tight angle from the right went across the face of goal, without troubling the goalkeeper. For Arsenal, Katie McCabe’s cross had nearly met Vivianne Miedema’s outstretched leg but United managed to survive.
United came into the second half as a better side, with Zelem’s set-pieces causing problems for the Gunners. One of her deliveries met Millie Turner but the effort came off the crossbar and ended up landing on top.
Tensions also flared in the second half, as Thomas’ high boot on Beth Mead left Jonas Eidevall angry but the United forward stared the Arsenal bossdown instead of backing out.
Arsenal brought on their new signings late in the game and committed extra numbers forward to get a winner but the move backward in dramatic circumstances. After Russo was brought down during an impressive counter-attacking move and United won a free-kick, Zelem’s perfectly-weighted ball met Russo, whose header looped in for United to take the lead.
The win proved to be United’s second in six games against Arsenal and they have now kept five clean sheets in all competitions in as many games. The result provides them with much-needed confidence ahead of a massive league game against Tottenham.