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Russo nets as Red Devils beat Gunners to book spot in Conti Cup semis

Russo nets as Red Devils beat Gunners to book spot in Conti Cup semis

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MARC SKINNER hailed the spirit of his Manchester United battlers after their Conti Cup quarter-final knockout of Arsenal.

But the Red Devils chief insists there is still much work to do as his side look ahead to the semis after beating the Gunners 1-0.

Alessia Russo's looping header helped Manchester United book their place in the Conti Cup semi-finals

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Alessia Russo’s looping header helped Manchester United book their place in the Conti Cup semi-finalsCredit: Reuters

A late Alessia Russo header led to Arsenal’s exit from the competition with United unbeaten in 10 games away from home.

The result saw the Gunners endure a fifth loss in six matches across competitions with the visitors nabbing their first win against the WSL leaders under Skinner.  

The Red Devils boss said: “The results make you feel like you’re in a space where you can do anything.

“But it’s because we’re focusing so much on each individual game that we end up chipping away at our end goal which is to be successful.

“I’m so proud of everyone and all our staff who work tirelessly, but we’ve done nothing but get to a semi-final.

“We’ve got work to do. I’m sure we’ll face a really tough opponent in the semis.”

Arsenal had a decent chance to take an early lead with Vivianne Miedema coming close to getting her boot on the end of a ninth-minute cross from Katie McCabe

And moments after the Republic of Ireland ace delivered another dangerous ball into the box that narrowly fizzed past Nikita Parris at the far post.

United began to gain momentum on the counter and nearly took advantage of a misplaced Arsenal pass near the half-hour mark.

Leah Galton drove down the middle before passing to Ella Toone on the right with the playmaker outpacing her marker before shooting wide.

And Galton delivered a dangerous low cross into the box intended for Toone which Arsenal hoofed out of danger.

The second half saw a moment of drama with Martha Thomas’s high challenge on Beth Mead prompting an angry response from Jonas Eidevall.

The Gunners gaffer appeared to reprimand Thomas before Skinner and the forward’s team-mates intervened.

Martha Thomas picked up a yellow card for a challenge on Beth Mead during game

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Martha Thomas picked up a yellow card for a challenge on Beth Mead during gameCredit: Getty

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The 60th-minute incident ended with both managers given yellow cards along with Thomas.

With the game goalless late on Eidevall shuffled his deck with Stina Blackstenius making her debut and replacing Miedema close to the 70th minute

And Tobin Heath and Laura Weinrother came on for Beth Mead and Noelle Maritz

United made a triple change of their own with Ona Batlle, Vilde Boe Risa and Alessia Russo entering the fray in the final quarter of normal time.

And a whipped in free-kick from Katie Zelem ended with Russo’s header finding the back of the net near the 90th minute.

The visitors held their hosts at bay to seal a victory that leaves the Gunners still searching for their first win of 2022.

Eidevall said: I’m disappointed about not getting the result, but if there is any competition I would take a loss in it would be the Conti Cup.

“We will move on and try to build on this performance.”

Manchester City joined United in the league cup semi-finals draw after their defeat of Bristol

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Manchester City joined United in the league cup semi-finals draw after their defeat of BristolCredit: PA

Elsewhere Manchester City booked their place in the contest’s semis with a 3-1 defeat of Bristol.

Chelsea and Tottenham sealed 4-2 and 1-0 wins against West Ham and Liverpool.

The three teams and United will find out who their semis opponents will be with the draw taking place on Thursday.



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