ANNA LEAT’s penalty exploits helped Aston Villa defeat Manchester United on penalties in the group stage of the Continental Cup.
A Rachel Daly header saw Carla Ward’s side bounce back from a 1-0 deficit before claiming a 4-3 penalty win in the opening game of Group A.
Villa’s shot stopper kept the pegs away from Hayley Ladd and Ona Batlle before Maz Pacheco buried the winner from the point.
This afternoon, Marc Skinner made nine changes to the starting XI that defeated West Ham last Sunday, with Ona Batlle chosen as captain.
Sophie Baggaley started in goal with Adriana Leon, Jade Moore and Nikita Parris among the Red Devils’ outfield players who faced Villa away.
Parris gave the visitors a 16thMinute lead at Bescot Stadium with their first Red Devils goal – a well-placed shot over the palms of Leat.
Villa fought back, however, when Daly equalized for the hosts from a Kenza Dali free-kick late in the second half.
The game went to penalties, with both sides level after regulation time.
While Baggaley held off three pins, Leat twice denied the visitors from the point, in addition to misses from Ella Toone and Hannah Blundell.
The 1-1 draw in regular time saw both teams earn a point in Group A, with Villa earning an extra point for winning on penalties.
And Ward’s side will visit Everton for their second League Cup group stage game on October 26, with United heading to Maiden Castle Sports Park for a clash with Durham.
Meanwhile, Kelly Chambers is looking for a “change in mindset” from her Reading aces, with the Royals boss aiming for a good run in the Conti Cup.
The club meet Tottenham at home in the first game of the group stage on Sunday, with the team aiming for their first win in all competitions this season.
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And they are hoping to advance to the knockout rounds after being eliminated from the group stage last season.
Chambers, 36, told reporters: “We’ve had a really good run but we’ve slacked off in the second half of last season.
“We want to keep consistency, consistency in performance, results so we can be better than last year.
“You can’t hide the fact that we’re probably the smallest club in the league with the smallest budget, but I think we have good quality to compete in this league.
“We want a good cup run and there’s no reason why we can’t. We just have to make sure we change the mentality.”
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6346933/villa-manchester-united-conti-cup/ Leat’s shootout saves help Villa defeat Man United in Conti Cup group stage clash