Chelsea beat Manchester City in extra-time thriller to win Women’s FA Cup, complete double.
LONDON — An extra-time goal from striker Sam Kerr helped Chelsea to a thrilling 3-2 victory over Manchester City in the Women’s FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, completing a domestic double this season.
Emma Hayes’ side lifted the Women’s Super League title in a dramatic final day decider last weekend, and Sunday’s victory meant they defended their FA Cup crown after they beat Arsenal in last season’s delayed final, played in December.
Kerr broke the deadlock in front of a record Women’s FA Cup final crowd (49,094) on Sunday, but scores were level again midway through the first-half when City forward Lauren Hemp struck back with a sublime curled finish.
City dominated large spells but were wasteful in front of goal, and a superb strike from outside the box by midfielder Erin Cuthbert sent Chelsea back ahead.
City pushed for an equaliser but looked like they might never find one until substitute Hayley Raso was sent through on goal on 88 minutes and poked home past Chelsea goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger, sending the game to extra-time.
But Kerr, who won this season’s WSL Golden Boot award, showed her class once again, breaking away on the counterattack before slotting home to help Chelsea to their fourth Women’s FA Cup title.
Both sides entered the final on red-hot form, with Chelsea having won their last 11 games in all competitions, while City’s were enjoying a 13-game winning streak.
Hayes was handed a further boost ahead of kickoff as midfielder Fran Kirby, who has not played since February due to health concerns, was made available and named to the bench, although she did not feature.
City dominated the opening spell but missed a couple of early chances — first from midfielder Caroline Weir, who blazed a shot from the six-yard box over the bar; and then from Hemp, whose attempt to the right bottom corner was blocked off the line by opposing defender Millle Bright.
Chelsea had the ball in the back of the net on 17 minutes when Kerr got on the end of a through ball, rounded goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck and slotted home, but the Australia international was ruled offside.
She would not be denied further though as Bright delivered a perfectly floated cross that looped over Roebuck, just in time for Kerr to nod home at the back post and hand Chelsea a first-half lead on 33 minutes.
Hemp, who is this season’s top scorer in the competition, then struck the sides back level just before half-time with a superb finish – her seventh in the competition — driving around Bright at the edge of the Chelsea box before curling a shot into the top right corner.
City started the second half in much the same way as they did the first, creating chances but without success. That opened the door for Chelsea to sneak back ahead, doing so on 63 minutes through Cuthbert’s stunning strike from outside the 18-yard box that rattled the underside of the bar.
Gareth Taylor’s side struggled to breakdown Chelsea’s resolute defence as the clock ticked toward the final whistle, but they were eventually rewarded through Raso, who latched on the end of defender Alex Greenwood‘s ball over the top before providing a composed finish to cause extra-time.
City replacement Ellen White almost nudged her side ahead for the first time in the match but was thwarted as Chelsea refused to be denied Cup glory. Kerr raced on the counterattack shortly after and had a two-on-one bearing down on goal but went alone and her deflected effort turned out to be the winner in the 99th minute.
Sunday’s victory meant Chelsea avenged their Conti Cup final defeat to City in March, with that defeat blocking Hayes’ side from completing back-to-back domestic treble winning seasons.
Credit: Source link