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Vitality Women’s FA Cup – Semi Finals

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The quarter-finals of the FA Cup gave us two exciting fixtures in the semi-finals. Two unexpected teams in Birmingham and Everton and two top dogs Arsenal and Manchester City were vying to book a spot in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup Final at Wembley.

Birmingham City Women vs Everton Women [0-3]

Everton created a few half chances right from the kick off whistle. Birmingham goalkeeper Hannah Hampton spilled a cross but no Everton player could capitalize on it. Izzy Christiansen worked a short corner with Danielle Turner, whose long range effort was saved. Rikke Sevecke was denied by the crossbar and the scores were still level. Everton came close yet again when Turner fired a cross in from the left and Simone Magill’s subsequent layoff led to a close range effort from Lucy Graham. Hannah Hampton was up to the task and made the save once more. Christiansen put Magill through on goal in the 44th minute and that gave Everton the breakthrough. Magill rifled her shot into the back of the net.

Birmingham tried to come back in the second half with some long range strikes, but to no avail. On the other end, Moe Wold’s cross from the right hand side was met at the far post by Nicoline Sorensen, putting the Toffees up by 2 goals at the 60-minute mark. Christiansen and Molly Pike worked a few passes around to put Valerie Gauvin through on goal and she did not miss. Everton were heading to Wembley!

Manchester City Women vs Arsenal Women [2-1]

The cup holders Manchester City were looking to make it to their 3rd final in 4 years. Arsenal were looking to extend their FA cup pedigree yet again. Two teams with caliber to play the final met in the semi-final, and it meant that they were going to compete as hard as they could.

First half

Early in the game, Manchester City’s new signing Sam Mewis turned past Katie McCabe to fashion a long range effort, but it was not on target. It was fairly obvious the Manchester City wanted to hit Arsenal on the break. They had the midfielders to carry the ball out and the wingers to support those runs with dashes into the final third. Chloe Kelly was on the receiving end of a large number of passes on the right wing and utilized her pace to trouble the Arsenal defense all game. Ironically, the foul which led to the goal occurred on the other side of the field.

Leah Williamson brought down Caroline Weir outside the box. Manchester City captain Steph Houghton, formerly an Arsenal player, stepped up to take the free kick. She got the ball to go over the wall and into the net with a sublime free kick. Goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger stood no chance against such an accurate finish.

Jordan Nobbs found the equalizer from range. She went with her usual high looping shot from over 25 yards and Ellie Roebuck could not keep that one out despite a great diving effort. The Gunners could not keep the scores level for too long. They conceded almost immediately after scoring. Chloe Kelly put in the cross and Ellen White with sheer persistence set up Sam Mewis, who had an easy finish from a few yards out. Manchester City ensured they went into the first half with a lead.

Second half

Arsenal pressed on in the second half and did create two good chances for Vivianne Miedema. But it was just not her day infront of goal. The chances were too few and highly contested, keeping the feared Dutch striker at bay. The match ended 2-1 in favour of Manchester City Women.

Everton will go up against Manchester City in the Women’s FA Cup Final. Everton have had a fantastic start to the League season of 20-21 with 3 wins out of 3. Manchester City did draw unexpectedly against Brighton & Hove Albion. The final will surely be a match to watch out for, with Everton having won every game since the restart of football in September.

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