By Lloyd Webb
Natalia Pablos Sanchon scored the winner as Arsenal Ladies beat Manchester City 1-0 at Meadow Park to advance to the semi-finals of the Continental Cup.
The Gunners will now face Birmingham City in the next round of the competition as they look to reach their fifth consecutive final.
Manchester City threatened throughout the match but it was Natalia’s moment of magic which settled the tie in the first half, as she expertly volleyed beyond Karen Bardsley to knock out the reigning champions and maintain Arsenal’s 100 per cent record in the tournament.
Setting the Scene
Pedro Martinez Losa made two changes to the side that won at Sunderland Ladies 3-1 in the Women’s Super League on Saturday.
Marta Corredera replaced Chioma Ubogagu and Jade Bailey started in place of Dominique Janssen.
Elsewhere, Danielle Carter and Natalia started in a dangerous front line, while England captain Steph Houghton faced her former club.
Manchester City started at a quick pace and Bailey had to be alert to make a goal-line clearance in the opening exchanges to prevent the visitors from taking an early lead from Lucy Bronze’s cross.
Arsenal then got a foothold in the match and took the lead soon after when Natalia finished off a fine team move by firing a wonderful volley past Bardsley.
The Spain forward almost added her second when she raced through on goal moments before the interval, but this time the England goalkeeper came out on top as the Gunners went into the break with a one-goal advantage.
Both sides struggled to find their fluency after the restart but when they did, it was Arsenal who threatened. First Corredera sent her 25-yard lob over Bardsley’s crossbar before Jordan Nobbs’ cross nearly caught the goalkeeper out on the hour mark.
City almost hit back immediately when Daphne Corboz pulled back to Isobel Christiansen, who could only drag her strike wide of the target.
The visitors had one final chance to equalise when substitute Natasha Harding raced into the box with four minutes remaining, but she fired wide as Arsenal held out to secure a well-earned victory.
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