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Match report: Aston Villa 1-2 Manchester United

by Zoe Hodges

Manchester United have beaten Aston Villa 2-1 in a tense season opener at Villa Park.

The Reds were the more dominant in the first half but Villa took the lead in the second.

Goals from Lucia Garcia and Rachel Williams secured the three points for the Red Devils, though.

An early chance for Villa was comfortably saved for Mary Earps as she dived to her left, pushing it out for the first corner of the game.

United were energetic in the opening ten minutes, pressing well and winning the ball back. Their ideas going forward were good but their final passes were just a little too heavy.

Geyse lead a counter attack and came close to opening the scoring on her debut, but Van Domselaar got down well to tip her shot just wide of the post.

Galton had the best chance of the half as her shot from the edge of the area flew just wide.

Villa were worried about the pace and technical ability of Geyse and conceded a number of free kicks but despite strong deliveries from Zelem, United couldn’t capitalise. Villa had potential on the counter though and Lehmann had a golden opportunity to take the lead but she couldn’t keep her shot down.

Villa came out fighting in the second half and had a couple of chances going forward. Le Tissier put in a good block allowing United to counter.

Geyse showed great skill to break into the box but United couldn’t find the target. Moments later and Garcia, who had been solid all game had space to take a shot but again it flew over the bar.

Villa were growing into the game and there were some tired legs out there for United. A few heavy challenges were flying in from both sides and tensions were running high.

As Villa found themselves one on one with Earps, out of nowhere, Le Tissier came sliding in with a good challenge that the home side took offence to.

Moments later, former United player Hanson got a straight red for a high boot.

That spurred the home side on and Rachel Daly found space and slotted it past Earps.

United responded instantly and it was Garcia who was rewarded for her hard work all game by getting the equaliser from a corner.

In the 90th minute the Reds came close to taking the lead but van Domselaar made a fantastic save to deny the visitors. But with eight minutes of injury time to play, anything could happen and it was super sub Rachel Williams who found the target in the 92nd minute. Ecstasy in the away end!

Villa weren’t giving up though and a serious of corners in the dying moments were a cause for concern for the Reds, but they hang on for the three points.

Team: Earps, Turner, Le Tissier, George, Blundell, Zelem, Ladd (Miyazawa) Garcia, Toone, Geyse (Williams 66), Galton (Parris 71)

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