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Chelsea clinch a brace as Sam Kerr sinks Manchester City to win the FA Cup final | Women’s FA Cup

Chelsea clinch a brace as Sam Kerr sinks Manchester City to win the FA Cup final | Women’s FA Cup

Sam Kerr handed a struggling Chelsea side the FA Cup and a domestic double in a 3-2 loss to Manchester City that went into extra time. In front of a record crowd of 49,094 fans for the FA Cup final, the Australian striker scored the opener and the winner – his seventh and eighth goals in four consecutive domestic cup finals – to secure Chelsea retained the title they won on December 5.

Lauren Hemp equalized for City before the break but Erin Cuthbert’s searing strike from the edge of the box gave Chelsea the lead for the second time before an 89th-minute goal from substitute Haley Raso went extra time the final where Kerr jumped on a mistake. of her compatriot Alanna Kennedy to run flawlessly and score.

There is no love lost between Manchester City and Chelsea, who have traded blows at the top of the Women’s Super League since 2015, with only Arsenal’s title win in 2019 and second place this season pushing either team out of the top two.

City manager Gareth Taylor had said it would be two teams “get in, get out” and he was right. There was only one yellow card in the first half, which was collected by City centre-back Kennedy, but the tackles came in droves and quickly, with saves for the Chelsea trio slamming Cuthbert, Pernille Harder and Sophie Ingle, and City striker Bunny Shaw.

Although City had the better chances in the opening minutes, it was Chelsea who took the lead and indomitable England centre-back Millie Bright powered the move, netting Chelsea’s free-kick clearance down the right before to kick the ball only towards the goal. for Kerr to sneak up and nod the last yard over the line he seemed destined to cross anyway.

There was a risk in the following period of City being cowered and Chelsea exploiting their bruised prey. First, Guro Reiten lifted an effort 30 yards over the bar with Ellie Roebuck miles from his line, then Harder fired from range as well.

After weathering that little storm of pressure from Chelsea, City came back in the draw and it was another England international, one to rival compatriot Bright for the Lionesses’ in-form player this season, who made the breakthrough ON the other side. Escaping a sliding challenge from wing-back Jess Carter, Hemp came back into the box from the left, caught Bright on the wrong foot and looped his effort into the side netting.

In added time at the end of the half, City may have felt aggrieved when Shaw was brought down by centre-back Aniek Nouwen in the box, but with no VAR and only goal-line technology in use there was no there was no reassessment of the incident.

Magdalena Eriksson and Millie Bright lift the Women's FA Cup trophy after Chelsea's victory over Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on May 15, 2022.
Magdalena Eriksson and Millie Bright lift the Women’s FA Cup trophy after Chelsea win. Photography: Michael Regan/Getty Images

Despite the rivalry that has developed between those in sky blue shirts and their opposites in royal blue, with the last five FA Cup finals won by one of the two teams, it was the first time they had met finally. Chelsea and City had faced each other eight times in the FA Cup or League Cup before this season, where they eventually met in the final of each domestic cup competition.

At Plow Lane in the Continental League Cup final, City edged Emma Hayes’ side, coming from one goal. win 3-1 to get the first available silverware of the season.

This match was almost a microcosm of City’s season, with a first-half capitulation followed by a raging fightback. The resurgence of Taylor’s side, after the first third of the season was crippled by a summer of injuries, meant that heading into this final it could be argued that it was City, having picked up a place in the Champions League and won the league cup, who were the team to beat despite Chelsea lifted the WSL title the previous week. While City’s run to third place has gone at a gallop, Chelsea’s path to the title has been a torturous one.

Move the goal posts
Artwork: guardian design

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The momentum of crossing the line and lifting the title exhausted and digging deep cannot be underestimated, however, and it was only fitting that it was the Blues’ greatest warrior who gave the advantage at Chelsea for the second time, with Cuthbert hitting the bar. from the edge of the body with characteristic Scots ferocity.

Searching for the equalizer that would keep hopes of a cup double alive, City pushed forward and substitute Raso, a minute from regulation time, scored a worthy goal for her fellow Australian in the colors of the opposition. Collecting the ball from centre-back Alex Greenwood over the top, Raso slotted the ball to the chest and passed the rushing Ann-Katrin Berger.

In extra time, unwilling to give up her status as a Chelsea hero this season, Kerr held on to Kennedy’s missed ball and charged on a two-on-one break with substitute Jessie Fleming alongside her. Alone, Kerr’s shot deflected Greenwood’s outstretched foot which caught Roebuck and swung away, giving Chelsea the League Cup final revenge they craved.

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