Spurs Women fall to narrow defeat in opening Women's Cup match | OneFootball

Spurs Women fall to narrow defeat in opening Women's Cup match

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A late fightback from Spurs Women wasn’t enough to prevent defeat in our opening Women’s Cup match as Club America ran out 2-1 winners in Louisville, Kentucky.

Facing a side who are well into their league campaign in Mexico, the sharpness of the Liga MX Femenil side told in the opening minutes as they flew into a 2-0 lead at the Lynn Family Stadium - Kiana Palacios opening the scoring on 10 minutes before Scarlett Camberos doubled their lead five minutes later.

Having struggled in the first half though, we began to find our feet in the second half and, as we debuted our new Nike 2022/23 third kit, deservedly halved the deficit on 64 minutes as summer arrival Nikola Karczewska struck on her first appearance for the Club. We then battled valiantly to restore parity in the game but, ultimately, were not quite able to complete the comeback.

Before the match, Head Coach Rehanne Skinner had spoken of just how much of a test the game would be for the team with our opposition not just one of the best sides in Mexico, but also a side reaching its peak fitness levels with seven league matches already under their belts this term - and that fitness edge showed immediately as, within the first 15 minutes, their speed and intensity showed.

They could have been ahead on seven minutes as Camberos slipped through our defence and through on goal, but Tinja-Riikka Korpela got down well to deny the forward. However, three minutes later, she could not deny Palacios from finding the back of the net as, following a corner, the ball fell kindly for the striker a matter of yards from goal and she was able to quickly poke the ball past Korpela.

It could have then been two four minutes later as Alison Gonzalez slipped into the box, only to lash over from the angle. A minute later though, they did double their advantage as a raking pass over the top picked out the run of Camberos and, once into the box, the forward picked out the far corner of the net.

With a healthy lead, the Mexican side were in control of the game, but it didn’t dampen the spirit within our side as we continually looked to get back into the game. We were positive in our forays but we couldn’t quite find that final pass to really challenge opposition goalkeeper Itzel Gonzalez. And when we did, we couldn’t quite force the issue with both Drew Spence and Ashleigh Neville sending efforts wide of the target.

After the break though, and following the introductions of Angharad James – her first appearance for the Club – and Asmita Ale, things began to click for us. We were beginning to build patterns of play and create better opportunities. Those usually came from out wide as both Ashleigh Neville and Rosella Ayane were starting to find space on the wings, although America were standing firm at the back, defending their box well.

But we were knocking on the door and eventually, it had to open – and so it did, just after the hour mark. The impressive James was the key instigator, winning the ball well in midfield before looking forward. She played in fellow newcomer Celin Bizet - who was also making her first appearance for the Club since arriving from Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday - into the box and selflessly, she rolled the ball to her right for the oncoming Karczewska, who fired home with a first-time strike.

It was a goal we very much deserved and something that seemed to really raise the intensity further in the match as both teams showed great fight and character in quite a physical affair. As we battled with Club America, we pushed until the very end for an equaliser, but a clear-cut chance did not quite fall to us, and our opponents held out to take the victory.

Our next Women’s Cup match is on Wednesday and it will see us take on Tokyo Verdy (kick-off 7pm UK).

Match data

Goals: Spurs: Karczewska 64; Club America – Palacios 10, Camberos 15.

Yellow cards: Spurs – Bartrip 21, Ale 60, James 71, Turner 86; Club America – Kaci 44, M Hernandez 86.

Venue: Lynn Family Stadium, Louisville, Kentucky.

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