Battle Of The Title Challengers Ends Level As Manchester City And Chelsea Play Out Dramatic Draw
Guro Reiten’s 96th-minute equaliser rescued Chelsea a dramatic point against Manchester City who were down to nine after Alex Greenwood and Lauren Hemp were sent off.
City dominated the opening minutes of the game as their attacking lineup caused the Chelsea defence all sorts of problems.
It was Chloe Kelly who put City ahead after only six minutes. Mary Fowler fed the ball to Kelly who was waiting on the edge of the box and powered a long-range shot straight into the back of the net at a pace that Chelsea’s Zećira Mušović never stood a chance of saving.
However, the game changed when City captain Alex Greenwood, who was celebrating 100 appearances for the club, was shown a second yellow card for time-wasting in the 38th minute.
It was a questionable decision from the referee and was booed heavily by fans in the stadium. Other fans, footballers and pundits took to social media to share their thoughts, including the likes of Beth Mead who posted on X: “Awful decision, never time wasting”, and Ian Wright who said, “Embarrassing. They keep telling us about laws of the game but where is common sense! Why would she be wasting time??”.
More misery came to the home side as frustration boiled over for superstar striker Lauren Hemp who was first presented with a yellow card for dissent, and later, a red card for a tackle against Lauren James on the edge of the box.
Again, the stadium echoed with boos as City were down to nine on the pitch with nine minutes plus added time still left to play.
Despite everything that went against them, the City team pulled together and put in a stellar performance defensively to dull Chelsea’s momentum.
They put absolutely everything on the line, were disciplined, communicated well with each other and kept a cool head. To complement this, they also had some glimmers of hope on the counter with close chances late in the game from Chloe Kelly and later from Bunny Shaw.
Chelsea, on the other hand, didn’t look like the dominant side we have come to expect of them.
They were disconnected and looked tired on the ball struggling to break down City’s defence and create chances that broke the lines.
Whilst this game did see the return of Sam Kerr and Erin Cuthbert, neither managed to make an impact and create that attacking spark that Chelsea were missing. The closest attempt came from James whose shot hit the crossbar.
The visitors did manage to claw back an equaliser in the sixth minute of added time as Reiten poked the ball home from close range following a scramble in the box.
This happened whilst City only had eight players on the pitch as Alanna Kennedy was waiting to come back onto the pitch after receiving treatment for an injury, further adding to the blow for the Citizens.
Next up, Manchester City face newly promoted side Bristol City but they will be without Hemp and Greenwood as well as Leila Ouahabi who received a red card in the opening game against West Ham.
Whilst City do have alternative options, this will be a huge blow to them and they’ll need to pull together and carry the tenacity and cohesiveness they exhibited into their upcoming games.
Meanwhile, Chelsea will take on West Ham, a team they’d be expected to beat easily, and manager Emma Hayes will certainly be looking for a more comprehensive performance and a convincing win.
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