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Women’s International Champions Cup: Manchester City earns a stunning comeback win against Atletico Madrid

Atletico gave up a pair of second half goals to lose once again

Atletico de Madrid Femenino v Manchester City Women - 2019 Women’s International Champions Cup
Janine Beckie scored the game-tying goal for Manchester City.
Photo by Grant Halverson/International Champions Cup via Getty Images

On a hot and humid Sunday afternoon, Club Atlético de Madrid Femenino fell to Manchester City W.F.C. in the third-place match of the 2019 International Champions Cup Women’s Tournament. After both teams suffered losses in their opening matches, it was Manchester who dug deep and found the strength to win their second match of the tournament.

After ten opening minutes where the two teams felt each other out without generating a shot on target, Madrid took control of the game. Their first shot on goal came in the 16th minute, when Ludmila took the ball to the end line and passed it back into the box to Charlyn Corral. Her shot was blocked out by City goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck. The ensuing corner kick was nearly flicked on, but Roebuck was able to collect the ball. Madrid earned three corners in a short span around the 15th minute, but they were unable to capitalize on the opportunities.

Manchester City got the first goal of the game in the 22nd minute against the run of play. Madrid defender Laia Aleixandri played a terrible pass to fellow defender Elena Linari, but the pass was so slow that City midfielder Lauren Hemp was able to jump in front and steal the pass. She blew past both defenders and took on Atleti goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal. The goalkeeper couldn’t decide whether to come out and atack or retreat, and Hemp was able to finish easily with van Veenendaal out of position.

Corral had another open shot on goal in the 35th minute. A turnover led to Ludmila collecting the ball at the top of the 18-yard box after the Madrid midfield strung together a few quick passes. She considered taking the shot herself, but she instead passed the ball across to a wide open Corral. Despite time and space to consider the shot, she didn’t even test Roebuck and the opportunity was squandered.

The second half started out exactly how the first half ended. Madrid controlled the ball in their attacking third for most of the first 15 minutes of the half. They had another golden opportunity slip past them when Ludmila slipped a ball through to Corral who sped in behind the Manchester defense. Unfortunately for the Spanish side, she sent the ball wide of the net without testing Roebuck.

Madrid wouldn’t have to wait long to score their game-tying goal. The goal was set up when captain Amanda Sampedro was taken down about thirty yards from goal. Angela Sosa stepped up and took the free kick with her right foot. She sent a looping ball that fell just outside of the 6-yard box. Virginia Torrecilla rose up and put a header into the back of the net where Roebuck had no chance of saving it.

Sosa would turn out to be Madrid’s player of the match just five minutes later, in the 63rd minute. In a moment of personal brilliance, Sosa pulled the ball back 25 yards from goal, and Man City midfielder Jill Scott fell a few steps away from her. Sosa surprised everyone by pulling the trigger on a cracking shot from distance, and Roebuck could do nothing but watch as the ball soared just under the crossbar and into the goal. The keeper had taken a few steps out of goal, and the shot caught her well out of position, but it would have been a tough save even if she was ready for it.

Madrid looked to be ready to score another goal as they rattled off a long string of chances, but Manchester capitalized against the run of play once again. Keira Walsh took control of the ball at midfield and sent a searching ball forward to Janine Beckie. The Man City attacker was able to beat her defender and outrun her with the ball to the top of the box where she shot and scored against van Veenendaal.

With the game tied 2-2, it would be Manchester City getting the game winning goal in stoppage time this match. A spell of possession for City put the ball at Belgian forward Tessa Wullaert’s feet in front of goal. She calmly hit the shot and gave her team the 3-2 win to finish the game.

These were preseason games for both teams, but after getting eliminated by Atletico Madrid at the 2018-19 UEFA Women’s Champions League last year, this was a big win for City.

Madrid Starting XI: van Veenendaal; Kenti, Laia, Linari, Strom; Amanda, Virginia, Sosa, Duggan; Ludmila, Charlyn

Manchester City Starting XI: Roebuck; Mannion, Houghton, Bonner, Stokes; Stanway, Weir, Hemp, Beckie; Walsh, Scott