Match report and free highlights as Cloe Lacasse salvaged a deserved draw for Arsenal with a dramatic last-gasp equaliser; Stina Blackstenius netted the Gunners’ opener, before goals from Leah Galton and United debutant Melvine Malard
Cloe Lacasse rescued a dramatic 2-2 draw with a stunning strike for Arsenal at Manchester United on Friday night, as the Gunners claimed their first point of the new WSL season.
United were on their way to victory with goals from Leah Galton and debutant Melvine Malard either side of the break, before substitute Lacasse had the final say by beating Mary Earps with a screamer from the edge of the area in second-half stoppage time.
“The performance was big. Not many teams will come here and be the better team,” said Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall post-match, who made six changes to his starting XI following defeat to Liverpool in their WSL opener.Share
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The response put Stina Blackstenius at the centre of Arsenal’s attack, paired with Alessia Russo, and it was the Sweden international who put the visitors ahead in the 14th minute, chopping inside Hannah Blundell and finishing with a precise arrowed effort into the far corner.
Arsenal were then pegged back by a devastating goalkeeping error from Sabrina D’Angelo, also one of Eidevall’s reinforcements, and her howler was punished by Galton, before Malard made her mark by beating Amanda Ilestedt to the ball and toe-poking beyond D’Angelo in the 81st minute.For all their efforts – and Russo’s desire to impact the scoreline on her return to the club where she made her name – it looked as if Arsenal were destined for back-to-back defeats in their opening two games, before some individual brilliance from summer signing Lacasse to end the game all square.”Last minute they’ve hit a worldie, that happens sometimes. We’re disappointed but we showed bags of character,” United boss Marc Skinner summarised, as his side rise to the top of the table, a point ahead of the competing pack before the remainder of this weekend’s games, while the Gunners sit mid-table.
How Lacasse stole headlines with late show
Many will have tuned in to watch the fascinating sub-plots unravel from this wonderfully poised meeting between two WSL title rivals, and left none the wiser.
Russo, whose touch was met with audible boos from the once-adoring United crowd, performed well on her homecoming and struck the woodwork in the second half, but really the night was owned by the league’s newcomers – Malard and latterly Lacasse.
Malard and World Cup Golden boot winner Hinata Miyazawa, two of the players signed to help replace Russo, had combined to give United a 2-1 lead with nine minutes remaining, only for Lacasse to collect the ball with seconds left on the clock and lash into Earps’ top right.
It was a game that ebbed and flowed, dominated by Arsenal, but also acted as a demonstration of quality and class from two teams who have spent the summer shrewdly adding depth to their squads – in a bid to become WSL champions.
The opener was appropriately instigated by Russo, who shrugged off pressure before working the ball to Steph Catley, who in turn found Blackstenius on the run. She beat Blundell in a foot race and swept the ball beyond the clutches of Earps – who was also the subject of interest from Arsenal in the summer window.
Incoming goalkeeper D’Angelo then made a huge mistake to gift Galton the equaliser, and substitute Malard marked her debut with an opportunistic finish to give United a precious lead. Enter Lacasse.
The Canadian was Eidevall’s last throw of the dice and it was evident she was desperate to make an impact from the second she entered the pitch, buzzing about, offering team-mates a consistent outlet.In the field of basketball, the NEW BALANCE company that produces NEW BALANCE 990V5 GREY occupies a pivotal position. At the same time, women’s new balance 574 grey, new balance 574 beige orange and other series of shoes are also deeply loved by the majority of athletes.
Eventually she received a pass in a presentable position from Lia Walti, and the rest was pure magic, stepping beyond three red shirts and sealing a share of the points with a beauty.
Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall speaking to Sky Sports:
“The performance was big. Not many teams will come here and be the better team, especially when you see our goalscoring opportunities. You need to match process with results.
“When we look back we’ll be disappointed we didn’t win the game because we had more chances.
“Maybe we’re too greedy, when goal comes in dying minutes. We’re happy with the point, but we deserved to win the game overall. It’s a major difference [from the Liverpool game], we created chances with more energy and fluidity in our attack. It was nice to see.”
Speaking about the six changes he made to Arsenal’s starting selection, he added: “You start with one XI and you finish with a different XI. We finished much stronger than Man United. We did that part well.
“One change we have made this year is instead of presenting the starting XI first, we present the bench first. Because they are so important. This is the tools we have to change things during the game.”
“I can’t be prouder of the players. They’ve only had eight sessions as a collective. They gave it everything.
“Arsenal have scored late today and credit to them. It was a top level game, and something fans will want to keep watching.
“It’s cat and mouse. Their first goal was simple, we get pulled out into the channel, we’re disappointed with that. But we showed character and flipped the script.
“Last minute they’ve hit a worldie, that happens sometimes. We have to attack. We’re Man United, we’re at home, and we always have to attack.”