Tottenham 1-1 Manchester United: Ria Percival’s fortuitous late free-kick cancels out Alessia Russo’s first-half strike to snatch a dramatic point for the hosts
- Alessia Russo put Manchester United ahead in extra-time in the first half
- United looked to be holding on before a dramatic late Spurs equaliser
- A long free-kick from Ria Percival evaded everyone and hit the back of the net
The goals both came in stoppage time at the end of either half, but they could hardly have been more different.
The first, from Alessia Russo, was a moment of quality to put Manchester United ahead; Ria Percival’s equaliser was a piece of good fortune. Yet that mattered little to Spurs, who stay third and two points above their opponents.
Manchester City’s poor start to the season has put the final Champions League spot up for grabs and United and Spurs are both eyeing European qualification.
Ria Percival of Tottenham is mobbed after her late free-kick snatched a point off Man United
Percival’s free-kick from long range evaded everyone and snaked into the far corner
United had won their last six games against Spurs, a run which started in November 2018 when both sides were in the Championship. This should have been their seventh and Marc Skinner’s side may rue letting two points slip.
Percival’s looping free-kick missed everyone, the bounce of the ball deceiving Mary Earps and going over the United goalkeeper.
‘It happens sometimes when they just put the ball in the box from the halfway line, that’s what you have to come up against,’ said United boss Skinner. ‘That’s football. It’s disappointing not to take three points but it’s a good ball in from them and we’ve got to be better at defending it.
‘I didn’t really feel we were that threatened barring a couple of shots from long distance with the wind. They used the elements well. I didn’t really think they got in behind us, they didn’t hurt us barring that last moment.’
Tottenham deserve credit for their willingness to battle until the end. ‘It’s huge progress, it shows what we’re trying to do,’ said Rehanne Skinner, head coach.
Alessia Russo (right) scored to put United ahead against Spurs late on in the first half
United manager Mark Skinner admitted that he was frustrated at letting two points slip
Tottenham (3-4-3): Korpela, Neville, Bartrip, Zadorsky, Percival, Clemaron, So-Hyun Cho (Ubogagu 45), Graham (Green 75), Naz (Ayane 75), Simon (Addison 80), Williams
Subs not used: Heeps, Harrop, Morgan, Ale,
Booked: Percival, Simon
Manager: Rehanne Skinner
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): Earps, Battle, Mannion, Thorisdottir, Blundell, Ladd, Zelem, Hanson (Thomas 71), Galton, Toone (Staniforth 71), Russo
Subs not used: Baggaley, Harris, Boe Risa, Fuso, Smith, Jones,
Goals: Russo 45+2
Manager: Mark Skinner
Referee: Emily Heaslip
‘There are no points you can take for granted so we’ve got to be putting in those performances on a consistent basis.
We wanted to make a good account of ourselves and keep showing our identity.’
Against a Tottenham defence that had conceded just three goals in their first five games, United needed a moment of quality to break the deadlock and it came from Russo at the end of an insipid first half which yielded just two shots on target.
A quick throw saw Ella Toone and Kirsty Hanson exchange passes before the ball was laid into Russo.
The striker nutmegged Shelina Zadorsky then powered past Ashleigh Neville before firing in at Tinji Korpela’s near post.
Skinner added: ‘She (Russo) is getting fitter and better at what I’m asking her to do.
‘She’s just got this wonderful strike, it’s almost like a scorpion’s pince.
‘She whips it so quickly that the goalkeeper doesn’t have time to move.
‘She’s been doing a few of them in training.’
Spurs found it difficult to break down a well-drilled United side and top scorer Rachel Williams had little joy against centre backs Aoife Mannion and Maria Thorisdottir.
Earps tipped Kit Graham’s fierce shot over the bar in the 65th minute but Spurs got their reward late on.
Tottenham’s Kit Graham tries to win the ball off Katie Zelam of United in Sunday’s encounter
Kirsty Hanson of United protects possession from Ashleigh Neville in Sunday’s match