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Man City sunk by Arsenal in dramatic finale as WSL title race takes fresh twist
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Phil Medlicott
Press Association
Stina Blackstenius scored a late brace for Arsenal at Man City (Martin Rickett/PA)
Stina Blackstenius scored a late brace for Arsenal at Man City (Martin Rickett/PA)

Stina Blackstenius’ late brace saw Arsenal snatch a dramatic 2-1 comeback win over leaders Manchester City as the Women’s Super League title race took another twist.

Four days after Chelsea’s 4-3 loss at Liverpool that had left Blues boss Emma Hayes saying she regarded the race as over, City were on course to extend their 14-match winning run in the league and take a huge step towards being crowned champions following Lauren Hemp’s 17th-minute opener.

But with Jonas Eidevall’s Arsenal hitting back in a remarkable finale at the Joie Stadium with goals in the 89th minute and stoppage time from substitute Blackstenius, the turnaround means that with one game to play, the situation is no longer in City’s hands.

Gareth Taylor’s side stayed six points clear of Chelsea ahead of the west Londoners hosting relegated Bristol City on Sunday evening.

Hayes’ team subsequently visit Tottenham a week on Wednesday, before the May 18 season conclusion sees City play at Aston Villa and Chelsea go to Manchester United, where goal difference could be the deciding factor.

Prior to the Chelsea-Bristol City match, City’s goal difference was superior by five – also Arsenal, already out of the running for the title, moved above Hayes’ side into second place.

While Hayes had spoken on Wednesday of the title battle being done, Taylor had stressed City simply remained focused on trying to make the clash with Arsenal their latest victory.

Looking eager early on, they might have had the lead in the fifth minute with Leila Ouahabi striking wide from a good position having been teed up by Hemp.

And after Khiara Keating did well at the other end to keep out Frida Maanum’s shot, the hosts then moved in front when Ouahabi laid the ball to Hemp in the box and she fired into the corner of the net for her 10th league goal of the campaign.

As a roar went around the stadium, Hemp ran towards the bench to celebrate with former England captain Steph Houghton, for whom it was a final City home game before retiring this summer.

Chloe Kelly, started centrally in the continued absence of injured Golden Boot front-runner and newly-crowed Football Writers’ Association player of the year Khadija Shaw, headed over the Arsenal bar soon after, then failed to make the most of a decent opportunity late in the half, seeing her miscued shot gathered by Manuela Zinsberger.

The opening moments of the second half saw Arsenal pass up a big chance as Laia Codina scuffed wide, and Mary Fowler denied by Zinsberger.

City were then relieved as they lost possession near their box to Beth Mead, whose shot was gathered by Keating.

As Arsenal continued to push, Blackstenius cracked an effort off-target and fellow substitute Caitlin Foord hit a low shot wide.

The pair then combined for the leveller in the final moments of normal time, Blackstenius meeting Foord’s header to prod in from close range.

And soon after, Arsenal’s pressure, and Blackstenius, delivered a further blow to City, the Swede connecting with a delivery from Kim Little, another substitute, and nodding past Keating for 2-1.


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