Manchester United 3-1 Everton as Red Devils move three points clear into third place

The Manchester United Women’s WSL fixture was played in front of a 20,000-strong crowd at Old Trafford.

<p>Jackie Groenen of Manchester United battles for possession with Aurora Galli of Everton Credit: Getty</p>

Jackie Groenen of Manchester United battles for possession with Aurora Galli of Everton Credit: Getty

Manchester United continued their quest for European qualification by beating Everton 3-1 in the first Barclays FA Women’s Super League clash to be played in front of fans at Old Trafford.

An Alessia Russo double and Katie Zelem penalty helped United recover from going a goal behind after just four minutes and move three points clear in third in the table.

United’s dream day – in front of a bumper 20,241 crowd – would be brought back to reality mere minutes after it had started.

With nearly four on the clock, Kenza Dali threaded a pass out wide to Claire Emslie, cutting apart the defence.

Ella Toone of Manchester United runs past Sandy MacIver of Everton Credit: Getty

Everton’s winger raced down the right and slotted a cross-goal effort past Mary Earps, leaving the hosts dumbfounded by the fact they had gone behind so early.

But the Toffees’ lead turned out to be short-lived, with United starting to pile on the pressure towards the visitors’ defence.

With 10 minutes left to go in the first half, childhood United fan Russo climbed the highest in the box to meet Ona Batlle's cross, her looping header slowly sailing into the back of the net.

And after the break, it was another diehard red who stepped up to give United the advantage. With Martha Thomas having been fouled in the box, referee Helen Conley pointed to the spot and captain Zelem coolly fired down the middle to make it 2-1.

Russo then added the third in the 84th minute with a bullet header from a Zelem corner.

Maria Thorisdottir of Manchester United battles for possession with Danielle Turner of Everton credit: Getty

Manchester City have a game in hand – after their game against Birmingham was postponed following a Covid outbreak in the Blues’ camp – but United now have a three-point advantage in third place.

Everton, meanwhile, recorded their 11th WSL loss of the season and sit ninth in the table.

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