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Le Tissier scores twice on debut as Manchester United beat Reading

Manchester United opened their Women’s Super League season with a 4-0 victory over Reading in front of a record crowd at Leigh Sports Village.

Defender Maya Le Tissier scored twice on her debut, Katie Zelem converted a penalty and England’s Euro 2022 hero Alessia Russo sent in an imposing header.

All four goals came in the opening 35 minutes as United showed their intention to improve on last season’s fourth place finish.

The feel-good factor in women’s football after England’s success at Euro 2022 this summer has resulted in record crowds of 7,217.

United’s highest attendance at Leigh Sports Village was 4,835 in 2018.

The hosts took control within four minutes when Le Tissier met Zelem’s corner on the volley with his instep and the ball passed over Royals keeper Grace Moloney.

Reading were denied a penalty claim when Deanne Rose’s cross hit Millie Turner’s outstretched arm, but play was choppy with the United defender just yards behind her opponent.

Zelem doubled the lead after 14 minutes on his 100th appearance for United.

Russo was knocked down by the rushing Maloney after being released by Ella Toone, and the United skipper stood up to hit a confident penalty.

The spunky Toone was denied a third by Maloney before Reading lost Rose to what appeared to be a nasty ankle injury midway through the first half.

Le Tissier’s dream debut continued when she was left unmarked 12 yards out after 25 minutes to head home another well-directed Zelem corner.

Reading forced an early save from Mary Earps as the England keeper reacted smartly to fend off Lauren Wade’s header near the post.

The visitors again conceded when Russo got up superbly to head home Ona Batlle’s cross.

Lucia Garcia was denied an opening goal by sprawling Maloney and United’s dominance was almost complete after the break.

But Reading were spared further punishment as Russo headed wide and substitute Nikita Parris was twice thwarted by brave defence.

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