Arsenal stun Man City with incredible late comeback in WSL title twist

Manchester City squandered the chance to go nine points clear in the race for the Women’s Super League title after succumbing to a sensational late Arsenal comeback, losing 2-1 at the Academy Stadium.

Gareth Taylor’s side had one hand on the trophy after Lauren Hemp’s brilliant first-half strike, but for the late contribution of Gunners forward Stina Blackstenius, who changed the complexion of a dramatic match completely.

Introduced from the bench midway through the second period, Blackstenius’ quick-fire double rescued all three points for Arsenal, who were guilty of spurning multiple chances before eventually finding the net twice in three devastating minutes.

The first arrived in the final minute of the 90, with Blackstenius applying an instinctive finish to Caitlin Foord’s knockdown from a corner, before a brilliant stoppage-time header gave Arsenal a staggering smash-and-grab win.

Arsenal's Stina Blackstenius celebrates with team-mates after scoring their side's second goal of the game
Arsenal’s Stina Blackstenius celebrates with team-mates after scoring their side’s second goal of the game

City remain in pole position at the top, six clear of nearest challengers Chelsea, who face Bristol City, live on Sky Sports, later on Sunday, with the chance to close the gap to three points.

How Arsenal dented City’s title tilt

Man City's title hopes dented by a stunning Arsenal comeback
Man City’s title hopes dented by a stunning Arsenal comeback

Man City were cruising for 85 minutes. They had a firm grip on the WSL title. The passing was crisp, and the movement slick. They were a yard quicker and heaps more efficient in possession than their London counterparts.

Then came the collapse.

Hemp’s opener set the early tone. City were zipping the ball about confidently, with Hemp well found in the box by Leila Ouahabi in the 17th minute, turning sharply and dispatching an excellent drilled finish.

Momentum continued to flow with the home side, with chances coming and going, while Arsenal looked laboured and found it difficult to build any rhythm. That changed when Blackstenius came on.

The Gunners began to threaten and Beth Mead and Foord were both guilty of some wasteful finishing – fortunately for them, Blackstenius was in a less forgiving mood.

Her first strike was a moment of real intelligence, meeting Foord’s knockdown to loop the ball beyond the clutches of Keating. Three minutes later, she pounced again, nodding Kim Little’s raking pass into the far corner.

What all that means for the title hunt is difficult to rationalise. Chelsea’s midweek slip-up against Liverpool gave City the perfect opportunity to take the race away from the Blues, but the door is now firmly ajar.

All eyes on Emma Hayes’ side later on Sunday, then, with the chance to move within three points of City at the summit.

What’s next?

The WSL’s final day of the season is on May 18 as Manchester City go to Aston Villa, while Arsenal host Brighton, with all games kicking off at 3pm.

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