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Historic victory as we reach Women’s FA Cup Final!

Spurs 2-1 Leicester City (after extra time)

Sun 14 April 2024, 15:02|Tottenham Hotspur

We will compete in our first-ever Women’s FA Cup Final after Martha Thomas wrote her name into the history books once again with a late winner in extra time in Sunday’s semi-final against Leicester City at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

With just two minutes left on the clock, it looked certain that we were heading to penalties but we needed one last opportunity and we certainly took it as Thomas – who also memorably secured our first-ever WSL victory over Arsenal on the same ground back in December – rose highest inside the box to loop her header over Lize Kop, sending everyone wild!

Spurs 2-1 Leicester City (AET) - key moments

- Jutta Rantala fires Leicester into an early lead
- We push in the closing stages and find an equaliser in the 83rd minute through Jessica Naz
- Chances for both teams in 30 minutes of extra time
- Martha Thomas wins it in the 118th minute to send us to Wembley

As with much our FA Cup journey this season, it wasn’t straightforward as we fell behind in the early stages of the first half after a powerful strike from Jutta Rantala, however, we continued to push for an equaliser and grabbed it with just seven minutes left of normal time as Jessica Naz stepped up with a composed finish into the bottom corner.

Thomas’ winner in the 118th minute sparked jubilant scenes as we booked our spot in May’s showpiece final at Wembley, where we’ll face either Manchester United or Chelsea, who contest the other semi-final on Sunday afternoon.

The game marked Thomas’ return from a hamstring injury, with Molly Bartrip also returning to the bench after illness as Robert Vilahamn name an unchanged starting XI to that which faced Bristol City in our last outing three weeks ago.

We were quick out of the traps on a lovely, sunny day in north London and carved out two glorious opportunities inside the opening 10 minutes, with them both falling to Celin Bizet. Grace Clinton slid the ball in to the Norway international inside the box, but she was denied by Kop and, shortly after, she blazed another effort over the bar after she linked up with Clinton once again.

Despite the positive start, it was the visitors who took the lead in the 12th minute through a wonderful strike from Rantala, unleashing a powerful shot from the edge of the box which flew past Becky Spencer. Our number 22 was called into action a few minutes later as Deanne Rose’s low cross was met by Sam Tierney just outside the six-yard box and Spencer managed to block her shot with an outstretched foot.

Naz was causing plenty of problems down the Foxes’ left-hand side and, in the 32nd minute, advanced from her own half to their 18-yard box but sent her effort wide of the post, while Eveliina Summanen rose highest to Amanda Nilden’s corner at the back-post, but she failed to keep her header down as we went into the break a goal down.

Bethany England and Nilden saw curling efforts from the edge of the box go narrowly wide of the target before Summanen sent a good chance over the bar on the half-volley. Chances were few and far between for a large spell of the second half, but the game came alive in the closing stages as Naz stepped up with a momentous goal with just seven minutes left until the end of the 90. England, who covered every single blade of grass, sent a long ball forward and a mis-timed clearance allowed our number seven to race in behind before calmly firing the ball into the bottom corner.

We were inches away from nicking the victory in stoppage time as Thomas saw a poked effort from close range pushed around the post by Kop before England’s cross found Charlotte Grant at the back post, but she failed to direct her effort on target, meaning we had to settle for another 30 minutes.

The visitors struck the woodwork in the ninth minute of extra time, Spencer pushing Rantala’s free-kick onto the crossbar before we managed to clear the ball away, however, it looked destined that we were heading to another penalty shootout before Thomas was on hand to continue our historic run in the competition. Matilda Vinberg sent a lofted ball into the box as Luana Buhler’s header kept the move alive around the six-yard box and our number 17 rose highest to send a looping header over Kop to book our spot at Wembley.

Spurs 2-1 Leicester City (after extra time)

Spurs: Spencer, Neville, Buhler, James-Turner, Nilden (Grant 77), Summanen (Ahtinen 77), Spence (Graham 68), Naz, Clinton (Vinberg 77), Bizet (Thomas 57), England (c). Substitutes (not used): Votikova, Bartrip, Petzelberger, Wang.

Leicester City: Kop, Bott, Howard, Green (Thibaud 91), Cayman, Tierney (c) (Pelgander 59), Takarada (Palmer 97), Momiki (Whelan 91), Rose (O’Brien 78), Petermann, Rantala. Substitutes (not used): Leitzig, Siemsen, Goodwin, Baker.

Match data

Goals: Spurs – Naz 83, Thomas 118; Leicester – Rantala 12.

Yellow cards: Spurs – James-Turner 19, Summanen 64; Leicester – Momiki 32, Green 43, Bott 90+6.

Referee: Emily Heaslip.

Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Weather: Sunny, 14 degrees.

Attendance: 18,078.