Manchester City were victorious in the first WSL Manchester derby as they ran out 1-0 winners over Manchester United on Saturday.
United started the game brightly and created the first clear cut opportunity of the game after 23 minutes. Leah Galton delivered an accurate cross into the path of Jane Ross, but the United striker was unable to divert the ball beyond Ellie Roebuck, who produced a stunning save to keep the scores level.
That saved proved to be vital as, shortly after the interval, City took the lead in spectacular style. Caroline Weir picked the ball up well outside the 18-yard-box and proceeded to slam the ball into the top corner, leaving Mary Earps grasping at thin air.
City dominated the game thereafter, but United were inches away from finding an equaliser with less than ten minutes remaining. Jackie Groenen strode into the City box before stumbling over, over for City's attempted clearance to cannon back off her and onto the post.
That proved to be the last real action of an entertaining derby, as City came through to secure all three points.
Key Talking Point
City enjoyed a decent 2018/19 season, but were unfortunate to fall short in the WSL, missing out on the title to Arsenal, despite only going the entire season unbeaten. Once again, they are one of the favourites to finish at the top of the table, but they didn't have it all their own way in this one.
Nick Cushing's side looked a little off the pace, especially during the first-half, and it took a moment of magic from Weir to turn the game around. It's always difficult to get back into the swing of things during the opening game of the season, so to pick up a result without being at their best was hugely important.
Starting XI: Roebuck (7); Mannion (6), Houghton (6), Bonner (6), Stokes (7); Scott (6), Walsh (6), Wullaert (6); Weir (8*), Stanway (6), Beckie (5).
Substitutes: Lee (N/A).
Star Player - Caroline Weir
It's only the first game of the WSL season, but you may be hard pressed to find a better goal throughout 2019/20.
Weir turned the game on its head in the second-half and provided a significant threat to the United goal with some sharp, incisive runs and neat footwork in and around the box. She was undoubtedly the game changer.
Key Talking Point
Casey Stoney's United side romped to victory in the WSL Championship last season, so they will be looking to establish themselves in the top flight during this campaign. Expectations will be realistic but, on the basis of their performance in this one, they could be capable of pulling off one or two surprises.
United were comfortably the better side during the first-half and had a number of decent chances to open the scoring, with the most significant being Ross' effort from close range which was brilliantly saved by Roebuck. City grew into the game and soon established their dominance, but Stoney will have plenty of positives to reflect on.
Starting XI: Earps (6), Okvist (6), McManus (6), M. Turner (6), Ladd (6); Groenen (7), Toone (6), Zalem (7); Galton (7), Sigsworth (6), Ross (5).
Substitutes: A. Turner (6), Hanson (N/A), James (N/A).
Star Player - Leah Galton
A tidy performance from Galton, who caused all sorts of problems for Aoife Mannion during the first-half and delivered some excellent balls into the box from the left flank.
The former Bayern Munich winger showed plenty to suggest that she is more than ready for the step up to WSL and, on another day, could have finished the game with a couple of assists to her name.
Galton been the brightest spark from a United point of view. Caused havoc on the left for us.— Jake Davies (@jakedavi5) September 7, 2019
City will now turn their attentions to the Champions League as they face off against Lugano on Thursday, while United are back in WSL action against Arsenal next Monday.