Sarri strikes but Albion lose on penalties

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Aston Villa go through to the semi-finals of the Conti Cup with penalty shoot-out win after 1-1 draw.

By Bruce Talbot • 07 February 2024

By Kyle Hemsley
Vea Sarri puts Albion in front with a cracking long-range strike.

Albion bowed out of the Continental Tyres League Cup after penalty shoot-out heartache against Aston Villa at the Broadfield Stadium on Wednesday.

Vea Sarri put Albion ahead with her third goal of the season in the first half but Villa dominated the second period and equalised through Kirsty Hanson.

Both sides had chances to win it with Sophie Baggaley making two brilliant late saves to take the game to extra time, when neither side could break the deadlock.

By Kyle Hemsley
Maisie Symonds battles with Jordan Nobbs in the second half.

So to penalties and a shoot-out to forget for Albion. Vicky Losada, Elisabeth Terland and Julia Zigiotti saw their spot kicks saved by Daphne van Domselaar while Geummin Lee dragged her penalty wide of the post. Baggaley made two fine saves herself but Adriana Leon and Anna Patten were both successful as Villa won the shoot-out 2-0 to progress to the semi-finals.

Interim head coach Mikey Harris had made just one change, bringing in Tatiana Pinto, and Albion began the game brightly.

Terland finished well after her run was spotted by Zigiotti but the assistant flagged for offside. Katie Robinson was lively down the right, linking up well with Emma Kullberg, and she might have done better when Sarri’s cross found her unmarked at the far post but she failed to test van Domselaar.

By Kyle Hemsley
Poppy Pattinson celebrates with Veatriki Sarri after she put Albion ahead.

Villa then had a decent spell without seriously testing Baggaley. Albion had dominated possession but were struggling to create clear-cut chances until Sarri took charge and broke the deadlock with a brilliant strike on 35 minutes. Robinson’s diagonal run and thoughtful pass found her in space 30 yards out and she took a couple of strides before beating van Domselaar with a left-foot shot inside the keeper’s right-hand post.

Villa then created their best chance of the first half and ought to have equalised. Sarah Mayling and Leon linked up down the right and Mayling’s cross was only cleared to Simone Magill ten yards but she shot straight at Baggaley.  

It needed a great block by Rachel Corsie to prevent Zigiotti from doubling Albion’s lead after Robinson’s run and cross set up the chance but then Villa began to get on top. Ebony Salmon had a goal ruled out for offside as the visitors pressed with more urgency.

By Kyle Hemsley
Elisabeth Terland holds off Villa's Jordan Nobbs.

Terland shot wide when Zigiotti was in a good position on the left but it was against the run of play and Villa deservedly drew level after 68 minutes when Kenza Dali’s right-wing cross was headed in by Hanson at the far post.

Baggaley kept Albion in the tie with three saves late on, blocking Hanson’s strike, a shot by Alisha Lehmann and Mayumi Pacheco’s volley, which was heading in until the Albion keeper kept it out diving at full stretch to her left. Even then Albion could have won it in normal time, but Lee volleyed wastefully wide when unmarked ten yards out.

By Kyle Hemsley
Hair-raising stuff as Vea Sarri is challenged by Sarah Mayling.

Extra time it was. Maria Thorisdottir was relieved to see a sliced clearance from Hanson’s cross drop onto the roof of the net and Villa looked the more likely to get a decisive goal but there were some tired bodies by the end of 120 minutes. Villa, though, were more clinical from the penalty spot.

Albion: Baggaley, Kullberg, Thorisdottir, Bergsvand, Pattinson (Carabali 74); Losada ©, Zigiotti; Sarri (Lee 74), Robinson; Pinto (Symonds 45); Terland. Subs not used: Loeck, Startup, Mengwen, Hall, Dent.

Attendance: 1050