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Aston Villa beat Manchester United on penalties in Continental Cup opener

Maz Pacheco ensured a shootout win for Aston Villa (Bradley Collyer/PA)
Maz Pacheco ensured a shootout win for Aston Villa (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Aston Villa started their FA Women’s Continental League Cup by edging out Manchester United 4-3 on penalties in a dramatic shootout where seven spot-kicks were saved.

Villa goalkeeper Anna Leat was the hero, keeping out the efforts of Hayley Ladd, Ella Toone, Hannah Blundell and Ona Batlle before Maz Pacheco slotted home the winner at the Bescot Stadium.

The sides could not be separated over 90 minutes, with Nikita Parris’ first goal since joining United in the summer cancelled out by Rachel Daly, who has now found the net four times in three games this season.

A 1-1 draw meant both sides collected a point apiece in this Group A fixture but there was an additional bonus point on offer for the shootout winners.

While United custodian Sophie Baggaley kept out penalties from Daly, Kenza Dali and Natasha Harding, it was Leat then Pacheco who had the decisive say for Villa.