Jutta Rantala

Foxes Score Four In WSL Opening Day Victory

Three debutants scored for LCFC Women who dispatched newly-promoted Bristol City 4-2 at Ashton Gate on Sunday afternoon.

Aimee Palmer netted an equaliser just before the break before second-half goals from Shannon O'Brien, Lena Petermann and Jutta Rantala guided Leicester to a victory and three points on the opening day of the 2023/24 Barclays Women's Super League campaign.

There were four new faces named in Willie Kirk's first teamsheet of the season as Julie Thibaud, Janice Cayman and Petermann all started in Bristol, while midfielder Palmer lined up for Leicester against her former club. Janina Leitzig and Courtney Nevin, who signed permanently this summer, were also named in the starting XI.

After four months away from action, both sides looked to find their feet in the game and played some wayward passes along the way, but the travelling City looked dangerous when in possession. Petermann was keen to leave her mark on the game, however it was Sophie Howard who had the first chance when she took aim from outside the box following a corner, but saw her effort from 35 yards landed on top of the goal.

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Shannon O'Brien

Shannon O'Brien gave the Foxes the lead early on in the second half.

Not long after, the Foxes carved another opening when a good interchange between Aileen Whelan and Missy Goodwin down the right wing created a chance for Cayman to have a pop at goal, but the Belgian international wasn't aware of the time she had and rushed the shot, putting it behind Fran Bentley's net.

The deadlock was broken just after the half-hour mark by the hosts when former Leicester loanee Carrie Jones cut inside on her right foot and sent a curling effort past Leitzig, to give the Robins their first goal since WSL promotion.

As the fourth official lifted up the board to display three additional minutes, Leicester got back level with a thunderous effort from Palmer. Making her Foxes debut, the former England youth international midfielder sent a left-footed effort into the roof of the net from the edge of the box to draw her side back level before the break.

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Lena Petermann

Lena Petermann opened her City account with a second half header.

Following the interval, the Foxes came out firing and found themselves with a commanding lead before the hour mark as O'Brien and Petermann etched themselves onto the scoresheet. First when Nevin played in O'Brien, who drove forward before drilling an effort low and hard past Bentley, before the German striker headed home from a corner four minutes later, to also claim a debut goal.

New faces were introduced into the mix across the final 20 minutes in the form of Rantala and Deanne Rose, with the former rounding off the Leicester scoring in the 83rd minute when a cross from Whelan was cleverly prodded into the far corner by the Finnish international, making it three debut goals on the opening day.

Bristol had the final say from the penalty spot when Amalie Thestrup converted from 12 yards, despite Leitzig diving right way, but it didn't disturb a great afternoon for Kirk's side, who claim their first win and three points of the season to start the 23/24 campaign in great fashion.




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