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​WOMEN'S SUPER LEAGUE: Man City grind out derby victory over Man Utd

Manchester City began their WSL campaign with a narrow 1-0 success over cross town rivals Utd.

Less than two years ago the thought of the Women's Super League containing Manchester teams from City and United was a mere marketing dream.

But here we are at the Etihad Stadium for the opening fixtures of the WSL with the first-ever professional women's Manchester derby taking place at the much larger and more high profile Etihad Stadium as opposed to City's normal berth of the 7,000 capacity Academy Stadium.

And certainly ticket sales have justified that move with sales of over 20,000 and an eventual attendance of 31,213 with all but the upper tiers of the ground open. The England women boss Phil Neville was in attendance along with Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

United Women were formed just 15 months ago and won promotion to the WSL at the first attempt in 2018-19 whilst City are an established outfit both in the league and European competition finishing second to Arsenal last season while also winning the Women's FA Cup.

Any thoughts Utd might be overawed with the occasion were swiftly dispelled with a first half performance in which they more than matched their opponents and had the better chances.

Twice Leah Galton fired in hard low crosses, the first of which Jane Ross connected with from close range only for keeper Ellie Roebuck to pull off a brilliant one handed stop. Then Jess Sigsworth found the ball tangled between her feet and City scrambled the ball clear.

The host's only chance of note came on 19 minutes when Caroline Weir saw her effort well saved by Mary Earps. In fact the Utd keeper was injured early on and was severely restricted with her kicking but City failed to take advantage as the visitor's frustrated them.

But within three minutes of the restart City took the lead with a goal of quality from distance by Weir after Utd only half cleared their lines.Utd

The home side then became dominant without really creating many clear cut chances as Utd were pushed back onto the defensive and their enterprise of the first half disappeared although Galton did force a save from an acute angle.

As Utd tired the home side began to take control although an amazing mix-up in the City defence almost allowed Utd a late leveller from a rebound off Jackie Groenen which hit the foot of the post before being reclaimed by the keeper.

City then comfortably saw out time without any further scares and apart from a record WSL crowd also claimed bragging rights until the return fixture.

Full Time

Man City: 1 (Weir 48)

Man Utd: 0

Att: 31,213

Venue: Etihad Stadium

Ian Ferris
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Ian Ferris

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