'It was literally two hands' – Man City unhappy as extraordinary goal earns Spurs shock win

Rosella Ayane celebrates
Tottenham have won both of their Women’s Super League games so far this season

Manchester City manager Gareth Taylor said it was “literally two hands” from Spurs forward Rosella Ayane which helped them grab a controversial late winner in the Women’s Super League.

City, who suffered their first league defeat at home since April 2018, had led through Lauren Hemp’s header.

Rachel Williams equalised before there was a clear handball from Ayane in the build-up to an 86th-minute winner.

“It’s pretty incredible that we’ve not had that chalked off,” said Taylor.

“We should have been out of sight by the time it gets to that and it should have been a consolation for them. But at the end of the day, it’s something we don’t want to happen.

“We want to improve the standards across the board. There were a few dodgy decisions tonight and that was certainly one of them.

“If the officials were to see that back, I’m pretty certain they would say the goal shouldn’t have stood. I don’t think it was one hand. It was literally two hands.”

Last weekend there were a number of controversial decisions in the WSL, with Taylor among those supporting the introduction of goalline technology and video assistant referees.

However, the City boss said officials “did not need the third eye” to see Ayane’s handball.

“It completely put Steph Houghton off clearing the ball. It doesn’t help us,” he added.

“We had it last season – the handball down at Chelsea that went against us, the penalty here against Chelsea that was never a penalty…

“We’re only in round two and there’s been some pretty contentious decisions that have happened in the game.”

Rachel Williams scores
Spurs ended a 19-game unbeaten run for Manchester City in the WSL

The defeat was an upset to Manchester City’s title challenge this season and capped off a disappointing week which saw them crash out of the Women’s Champions League in the qualifying stage to Real Madrid.

They had been dominant in the first half – Hemp and Janine Beckie causing problems out wide, while Georgia Stanway hit the post before the break.

But despite taking the lead through Hemp’s sixth-minute header, City failed to capitalise on their opportunities and Tottenham started brightly in the second half.

The visitors got the breakthrough when Williams reacted to slot in Chioma Ubogagu’s cut-back and could have gone ahead when Jessica Naz fired wide following a mistake from City defender Alanna Kennedy.

The extraordinary scenes followed when Ayane clearly touched the ball with her outstretched arms as it was curled into the box. It bounced off City captain Steph Houghton before hitting the post then rolling over the line off the back of goalkeeper Taieb.

City players protested heavily in front of a stunned home crowd, but Tottenham held on to pick up their second victory of the season.

“I thought we earned an opportunity,” said Tottenham boss Rehanne Skinner when asked about the incident.

“Obviously we’ve created a crossing situation and from that we’ve managed to take an opportunity against a team who are tough to break down.

“We created several chances in that phase of the game so I thought we earned it. From what I’ve seen, it looked like Ros [Ayane] tried to head it and then we’ve had a shot.”


Man City Women

Formation 4-3-3

  • 34Benameur
  • 14MorganBooked at 11minsSubstituted forAngeldalat 15′minutes
  • 6Houghton
  • 33KennedySubstituted forShawat 73′minutes
  • 5Greenwood
  • 17Losada
  • 7Coombs
  • 10Stanway
  • 11BeckieSubstituted forParkat 62′minutes
  • 18White
  • 15Hemp


  • 3Stokes
  • 8Scott
  • 12Angeldal
  • 16Park
  • 21Shaw
  • 30Mace
  • 35Keating

Tottenham Women

Formation 4-4-2

  • 22Spencer
  • 13Ale
  • 5Bartrip
  • 3ZadorskySubstituted forHarropat 90+5′minutes
  • 29NevilleBooked at 90mins
  • 12Percival
  • 21Clemaron
  • 4GreenSubstituted forUbogaguat 45′minutes
  • 7NazSubstituted forAddisonat 82′minutes
  • 17SimonSubstituted forGrahamat 61′minutes
  • 10WilliamsSubstituted forAyaneat 81′minutes


  • 1Korpela
  • 2Morgan
  • 6Harrop
  • 8Cho
  • 9Tang
  • 14Addison
  • 16Graham
  • 18Ubogagu
  • 23Ayane

Abigail Byrne


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