Khiara Keating went from hero to villain as her costly error gifted Arsenal a 2-1 victory over Manchester City in the WSL on Sunday.
City goalkeeper Keating’s first-half penalty save prevented Arsenal doubling their lead after Steph Catley’s fine 14-minute strike and laid the foundation for Chloe Kelly’s second-half equaliser.
But with City three minutes away from securing a point, Keating rashly vacated her area, misjudged the flight of the ball and put the winning goal on a plate for Arsenal forward Stina Blackstenius.
Arsenal’s third consecutive victory inflicts a first defeat of the season on City, who they join on 10 points in the top four of the WSL, three adrift of leaders Chelsea.
How Man City gifted Arsenal victory
Tasked with responding to Chelsea’s emphatic 6-0 victory at Aston Villa on Saturday, Manchester City flew out of the traps, with Khadija Shaw testing Manuela Zinsberger in the Arsenal goal and Kelly firing wide.
But Arsenal weathered the early storm and broke the deadlock against the run of play just shy of the quarter-hour mark, Catley planting an emphatic opener into the top corner at the end of a sweeping attack.
Conceding rattled City, and they gifted Arsenal the chance to double their lead four minutes later when goalkeeper Keating was beaten to a backpass by Cloe Lacasse and hacked the Gunners forward down.
But Keating atoned for her error, brilliantly tipping Kim Little’s resulting penalty onto the post, and the City goalkeeper was called upon soon after to prevent Caitlin Foord and Arsenal what would have been a fine, long-range second.
City finished the half strong and were inches away from drawing level when Lauren Hemp looped a header onto the Arsenal bar moments after Jill Roord’s deflected strike had forced a diving save from Zinsberger.
City’s wastefulness looked set to plague their attempted second-half revival, with Kelly and Shaw both dragging shots wide, before the woodwork denied City for the second time when Shaw headed Hemp’s cross against the angle of post and bar.
Arsenal introduced Beth Mead on the hour mark in a bid to close out the victory, but City’s perseverance was rewarded 18 minutes from time when, after a melee in the box, Shaw laid the ball into the path of Kelly to stroke in the equaliser.
The momentum appeared to be in City’s favour but Keating’s poorly-executed excursion out of her area to clear a long ball saw Blackstenius stride clean through on goal and slot Arsenal into a decisive lead.
Arsenal host Bristol City on Tuesday at 7pm and Man City travel to Liverpool on Wednesday at 7pm in the Women’s League Cup.
Arsenal then travel to Leicester in the WSL on Sunday at 6.45pm – live on Sky Sports – while Man City host Brighton in the WSL on Sunday at 1pm.