Man City 2-4 Chelsea: Sophie Ingle stunner helps Chelsea through to FA Women's League Cup semi-finals

Women's League Cup holders Chelsea remain on course to become second side to retain trophy after thrilling victory; Lauren Hemp's late goal looked to have won it for City before Niamh Charles 90th-minute equaliser; extra-time goals from Guro Reiten and Sophie Ingle send Chelsea through

Guro Reiten
Image: Guro Reiten scored Chelsea's third goal in their extra-time victory over Manchester City

Chelsea are through to the semi-finals of the Women's League Cup after coming from behind to win 4-2 at Manchester City after extra time in a thrilling contest.

Chelsea led at half-time through Melanie Leupolz but goals from Chloe Kelly and Lauren Hemp looked to have won it for City, before Niamh Charles' spectacular 90th-minute equaliser forced an additional 30 minutes in challenging conditions caused by Storm Christoph in Manchester.

Guro Reiten then gave Chelsea the lead in extra time before fellow substitute Sophie Ingle sealed the victory with a stunning long-range strike, as the holders remained on course to become just the second side to retain the trophy.

Chelsea's Melanie Leupolz (left) celebrates scoring her side's first goal of the game during the FA Continental Tyres League Cup quarter-final match at Academy Stadium, Manchester. Picture date: Wednesday January 20, 2021.
Image: Melanie Leupolz (left) gave Chelsea the lead on the stroke of half time

West Ham and Durham meet on Thursday in the final last-eight tie with the winners set to face Chelsea next month, while Bristol City and Leicester will contest the other semi-final.

Chelsea started brightly but wasted two fine early opportunities as Beth England failed to make contact with Erin Cuthbert's cross, before Sam Kerr shot into the side-netting after being put through on goal by Ji.

Chelsea celebrate during their 4-2 Women's League Cup quarter-final victory over Manchester City 0:34
Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes says the depth of her squad was the crucial factor in Wednesday's League Cup quarter-final victory over Manchester City.

City, who were without head coach Gareth Taylor as he remains in self-isolation under coronavirus protocols, grew in confidence as the half went on - and the rain got heavier - as only timely blocks prevented efforts from Georgia Stanway and Keira Walsh testing Chelsea goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger.

It was a lapse in concentration that allowed Chelsea to take the lead from a set piece a minute before the break, as City defender Alex Greenwood's attempted clearance fell to Leupolz, whose strike proved too powerful to keep out despite City captain Steph Houghton's best attempts at a goal line clearance.

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But Chelsea returned the favour eight minutes after the break, as Berger's throw out unnecessarily put captain Magdalena Eriksson under pressure, allowing Kelly to steal possession in the penalty area before finishing calmly from a tight angle.

The Women's Super League leaders almost instantly restored the lead as Kerr's cut-back set up Pernille Harder, only for City keeper Karen Bardsley to expertly tip the ball clear of the far corner. More chances for the visitors to go back in front followed as England headed narrowly over from a corner, before Kerr produced another wasteful finish from a tight angle.

Manchester City forward Chloe Kelly celebrates levelling the score at 1-1 during her side's League Cup quarter-final against Chelsea
Image: Chloe Kelly (left) equalised for Manchester City shortly after the break

City then spurned a chance of their own to take the lead as Kelly turned provider, delivering a perfect cross to the back post, only for Hemp to miss from close range.

However, Hemp wasn't to be denied again moments later as she took advantage of Chelsea's failure to clear a corner by neatly chesting down and firing past Berger to give City the lead five minutes from time.

Just as Chelsea's grip on the trophy appeared to be slipping, Charles produced an even more spectacular chest and volley to find the top corner from just inside the box, forcing extra time.

Manchester City's Lucy Bronze battles for the ball with Chelsea's Beth England during their League Cup quarter-final
Image: Manchester City's Lucy Bronze battles for the ball with Chelsea's Beth England

It took Chelsea just five minutes of extra time to retake the lead, as Bardsley tipped Harder's cross into the path of second-half substitute Reiten, who kept her composure to send a controlled finish into the empty net.

City had a chance to level two minutes later through Stanway, but Berger produced the save of the game as she bravely sprung off her line to preserve the lead, suffering an apparent shoulder injury in the process.

Chelsea saved the best until last, as Reiten laid the ball off for fellow substitute Ingle, who unleashed an unstoppable strike into the top corner from 25 yards out.

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