Arsenal end Chelsea’s hopes of quadruple with League Cup success

Arsenal’s Beth Mead (left) and Kim Little lift the Continental Tyres League Cup trophy following victory during the FA Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup Final at Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton. Picture date: Sunday March 31, 2024.

Stina Blackstenius’ extra-time goal gave Arsenal a 1-0 victory over Chelsea in the Continental Tyres League Cup final.

Blues boss Emma Hayes is leaving the club at the end of the season and her hopes of the quadruple ended when Blackstenius netted with four minutes of extra-time remaining at Molineux.

Earlier, play had been stopped in the sixth minute of added time when Arsenal’s Frida Maanum collapsed off the ball and was treated by paramedics before she was taken off on a stretcher.

Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall celebrates Arsenal’s victory at Molineux (PA)

The club later confirmed the 24-year-old Norwegian was conscious, talking and in a stable condition and would continue to be monitored closely by the club’s medical team.

Just as it seemed the match was destined for spot-kicks, Blackstenius bundled home to secure the defending champions what was their only hope at a trophy this season.

There were six changes for Emma Hayes from their midweek Champions League victory over Ajax, while there was just one for Jonas Eidevall, who elected Blackstenius to lead the line over England striker Alessia Russo.

There was disappointment for departing Blues boss Emma Hayes (PA)

Lauren James called Manuela Zinsberger into action for the first time with an effort to the top right corner after a cautious start from both sides, but the game had opened up as the clock ticked past 12 minutes and Arsenal forward Cloe Lacasse fired a long-range effort over.

Ramirez had the ball in the back of the net with a powerful strike inside 21 minutes, but it was ruled out after referee Cheryl Foster was called to the monitor and confirmed Erin Cuthbert’s handball in the build-up.

Arsenal were in control as the contest – played in front of a cup final record crowd of 21,462 – approached the half hour, their best chances coming when Hannah Hampton tipped Katie McCabe’s effort over the bar before Lotte Wubben-Moy launched a volley just wide of the left post.

Chelsea protested in four minutes of first-half stoppage time when the ball struck the arm of McCabe inside the area but Foster disagreed with the penalty shout, the incident was reviewed, and it remained goalless at the break.

Leah Williamson, who started the game with a taped-up right knee, was replaced by Laia Codina for the second half, with Melanie Leupolz blazing over an early chance for Chelsea and James fired into the side-netting.

Hampton denied Lacasse, who was played through on goal by Victoria Pelova midway through the second half, then James was denied by Manuela Zinsberger, although picking out Sjoeke Nusken may have been a better option.

There were concerning scenes when paramedics were quickly called to treat Maanum, who was treated on the pitch before she was removed on a stretcher and replaced by Russo.

There was a concerning moment when Frida Maanum went down off the ball. Goalscorer Stina Blackstenius checks on her (PA)

In extra-time, Blackstenius and James wasted chances before a brilliant block by Kadeisha Buchanan broke up Caitlin Foord’s threatening run, then Russo fired straight at Hampton.

Blackstenius made up for her earlier gaffe when she finally broke the deadlock after 116 minutes had been played, latching onto Foord’s pass before bundling in the

 

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