Women’s Continental League Cup: Arsenal and Chelsea reach final

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January 30, 2020
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    Arsenal

    Arsenal have reached all but one of the Continental League Cup finals since the tournament began in 2011

    London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea will contest the 2020 Women’s Continental League Cup final after both winning tense semi-finals on Wednesday.

    Record five-times winners Arsenal beat holders Manchester City 2-1, reaching the final for the eighth time since 2011.

    Chelsea reached their first final as Maren Mjelde’s cool second-half finish saw them win 1-0 at Manchester United.

    The City Ground in Nottingham will host the final on Saturday, 29 February.

    The two ties were being played between the top four sides in the Women’s Super League, who all also reached the last four of the League Cup last term.

    Cushing’s penultimate game ends in defeat

    Defeat for the holders saw outgoing manager Nick Cushing beaten in his penultimate game in charge before he takes up a coaching position at men’s team New York City in the United States after 2 February’s home league game against Arsenal.

    Two uncharacteristic defensive mistakes did the damage in the first half for City, who had beaten the Gunners on penalties in 2019’s final.

    Firstly Gemma Bonner gave the ball away and Vivianne Miedema slotted in the opener, before goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck let Danielle van de Donk’s strike slip through her fingers for the hosts’ second.

    England’s Ellen White then saw a penalty saved by Manuela Zinsberger after the break for the visitors, with the Arsenal stopper diving well to her right after Lauren Hemp had been fouled in the area.

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    City did halve the deficit moments later from the resulting corner, however, through Bonner’s header, but Arsenal were able to hold on and continue their bid for a sixth Continental League Cup crown.

    Blues win tight semi-final

    Chelsea, who were 4-1 winners at Arsenal in the WSL on 19 January to take the initiative in the league title race, will now bid for their first League Cup triumph.

    Emma Hayes’ side were denied in the first half by Mary Earps’ superb save to keep out Millie Bright’s header, but Earps could not stop Mjelde’s clinical finish from a very tight angle with 18 minutes to go.

    Striker Lauren James had a good chance to level for Casey Stoney’s Red Devils but fired over the bar from the edge of the area and Chelsea celebrated at full-time.

    Chelsea’s Australia star Sam Kerr and South Korea playmaker Ji So-Yun were both away on international duty but Mjelde’s strike was enough to see them through in their absence.

    The Blues had been eliminated at the semi-final stage of three competitions last season but can now look ahead to a showdown with Joe Montemurro’s Gunners.

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    January 30, 2020
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