We secured qualification for the 2021/22 Women’s Champions League on Sunday, despite being held to a goalless draw by Aston Villa on the final day of the Women’s Super League season.
It was a frustrating way for Joe Montemurro’s side to end their impressive nine-game winning streak, but with 48 points on the board, third place is ours over Manchester United, and we’ve achieved one of our key targets for the season.
We made four changes from our 2-1 victory over Everton last week with Lydia Williams, Leonie Maier, Lotte Wubben-Moy and Jill Roord all returning to the starting XI. Jordan Nobbs started out on the left wing, while Steph Catley came off the bench to pick up some more valuable gametime as she looks to build up match sharpness.
Heading into the game fearing for their safety in the WSL, Aston Villa made their intentions clear early on and frustrated us by maintaining their defensive shape and rarely pushing forward.
After some patient play and a silky run from Beth Mead, Vivianne Miedema was eventually played through on goal and looked set to open the scoring, but she fired straight at the keeper to conclude the first-half’s action.
We switched formation at the break following Catley’s introduction. The Australian slotted in on the left side of a back three, but it failed to solve our troubles in the final third. With exceptional discipline, Villa stood their ground as we could only amass a further three shots on target, with Jill Roord and Kim Little coming closest to breaking the deadlock.
We pushed and pushed in search of one last golden opportunity, but with some outstanding last-ditch tackles, interceptions and clearances, Villa kept us at bay and Montemurro was forced to settle for a share of the spoils in his final WSL outing.
WHAT IT MEANS
Up next, Montemurro will take charge of his final game as head coach when we face Crystal Palace in the fifth round of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup.
The game will take place on Sunday, May 16 with kick-off at 3pm (UK time).
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