Women's Continental League Cup: Manchester rivals to meet in group stage

Karen Bardsley
England's Karen Bardsley saved two penalties in a shootout to help Manchester City win the 2018 final

Manchester rivals City and United will meet in the group stages of the Women's Continental League Cup competition.

Holders City were drawn to face United in Group C, alongside Birmingham City, Everton and second-tier Leicester City.

League champions Arsenal face top-tier Brighton and Bristol City in Group B, as Chelsea meet London clubs Tottenham, West Ham and Crystal Palace in Group D.

Three of the four round-robin groups contain six teams and Group C has five, with each side facing each other once.

The top two clubs from each group will progress to January's quarter-finals.

At least one Championship club is guaranteed to reach the last eight, with Liverpool the only top-flight side drawn in Group A.

Group-stage matches will be played on the weekends of 21-22 September, 19-20 October, 2-3 and 20-21 November and 11-12 December.

The quarter-finals and semi-finals will follow in January, when the competition enters a knockout phase, before a leap-year final on 29 February.

The 23 teams in the Women's Super League and the Championship take part, and they have been divided regionally into two northern groups and two southern groups.

The Manchester clubs will also meet on the opening day of the WSL season, with newly-promoted United travelling to the Etihad Stadium on 7 September [15:00 BST].

Manchester City won the League Cup trophy for a third time last term, beating five-time winners Arsenal on penalties in the final - they are the only two teams to win the competition since its 2011 introduction.

The group-stage draw in full:

Group A: Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Coventry United, Durham, Liverpool, Sheffield United

Group B: Arsenal, Brighton & Hove Albion, Bristol City, Charlton Athletic, London Bees, London City Lionesses

Group C: Birmingham City, Everton, Leicester City, Manchester City, Manchester United

Group D: Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Lewes, Reading, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United

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