Manchester United Women 3-1 Everton Women: Alessia Russo scores twice in comeback victory
Manchester United came from behind to beat Everton in their first Women’s Super League match at Old Trafford in front of fans.
Claire Emslie fired Everton into the lead with an excellent finish in front of a season-high WSL crowd of 20,241.
Alessia Russo equalised with a looping header before skipper Katie Zelem made it 2-1 from the penalty spot.
Russo added a late third with another header – her ninth goal in the WSL this season – to seal three crucial points.
The win keeps Marc Skinner’s United on course for a top-three finish and a place in next season’s Champions League.
With four matches left, they are three points ahead of fourth-placed Manchester City, who have a game in hand.
This was the second time United had staged a WSL game at Old Trafford, but last season’s 2-0 win over West Ham was played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Sunday, there was a carnival atmosphere inside the ground as thousands of fans took advantage of reduced ticket prices to watch the team at the famous venue.
Scotland forward Emslie silenced the home support with a composed fourth-minute finish after United were caught out by a counter-attack.
However, United soon settled and Russo’s header from Ona Batlle’s cross made it 1-1 in the 35th minute before Zelem put United ahead for the first time from the spot after substitute Lucy Graham fouled Martha Thomas.
It was a fairy tale moment for Manchester-born Zelem who, when she was young, used to wave the Champions League banner in the centre circle at Old Trafford when the men’s team walked out on a European night.
Now the England midfielder can add scoring in front of the Stretford End to her CV. Forward Russo rounded off the victory with her second six minutes from time.
Manchester United boss Marc Skinner: “Almost the best thing Everton did was to score because it kind of kick-started us.
“For the first 20 to 25 minutes we didn’t really arrive. When Everton scored it woke us up and it felt like a slap of cold water on the face.
“We’re still fighting to finish in the top three. I saw us grow today so much. We don’t go behind often, especially in the first half, and [it was good] for us to show that resilience and grit.
“We have to keep the noise moving. I hope the fans that were here today come to [regular home venue] Leigh.”
Everton interim boss Chris Roberts: “I’m very disappointed. We wanted to come here and get a result. Just towards the end of the first half I felt we were soaking up too much pressure.
“We have conceded too many goals from corners and we have to do better. Claire is a very dangerous attacking player and if you give her space in and around the box, she will punish you.
“It’s just a shame we didn’t capitalise.”
Man Utd Women
- 17Batlle Pascual
- 3ThorisdottirBooked at 14mins
- 14GroenenSubstituted forMooreat 82′minutes
- 9ThomasSubstituted forHansonat 72′minutes
- 7TooneSubstituted forRisaat 89′minutes
- 23RussoSubstituted forBruunat 89′minutes
- 5BjörnSubstituted forGrahamat 45′minutes
- 6GeorgeBooked at 49mins
- 7DaliSubstituted forBennisonat 70′minutes
- 9DugganSubstituted forMagillat 68′minutes
- Helen Conley
Match ends, Manchester United Women 3, Everton Women 1.
Second Half ends, Manchester United Women 3, Everton Women 1.
Attempt blocked. Jade Moore (Manchester United Women) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Corner, Manchester United Women. Conceded by Sandy MacIver.
Attempt missed. Signe Bruun (Manchester United Women) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.
Attempt missed. Aurora Galli (Everton Women) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Poppy Pattinson with a cross.
Substitution, Manchester United Women. Signe Bruun replaces Alessia Russo.
Substitution, Manchester United Women. Vilde Risa replaces Ella Toone.
Corner, Everton Women. Conceded by Maria Thorisdottir.
Goal! Manchester United Women 3, Everton Women 1. Alessia Russo (Manchester United Women) header from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Katie Zelem with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Manchester United Women. Conceded by Poppy Pattinson.
Substitution, Manchester United Women. Jade Moore replaces Jackie Groenen.
Offside, Manchester United Women. Kirsty Hanson tries a through ball, but Alessia Russo is caught offside.
Attempt saved. Alessia Russo (Manchester United Women) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Offside, Manchester United Women. Kirsty Hanson tries a through ball, but Ella Toone is caught offside.
Leah Galton (Manchester United Women) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Danielle Turner (Everton Women).
Attempt missed. Claire Emslie (Everton Women) left footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the left.
Offside, Manchester United Women. Alessia Russo tries a through ball, but Leah Galton is caught offside.
Substitution, Manchester United Women. Kirsty Hanson replaces Martha Thomas.