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Chelsea Women 4-2 Man United Women: Emma Hayes’ side seal Super League title as Sam Kerr nets double

Chelsea Women survive an early scare to clinch their third straight Super League title as Sam Kerr’s double helps see off a spirited fightback from United – leaving Arsenal heartbroken as they miss out despite beating West Ham on final day

  • Chelsea Women claimed their third successive Super League title on Sunday
  • Sam Kerr’s double inspired them to a 4-2 win over Man United on the final day
  • Emma Hayes watched her side fall 2-1 behind despite equalising after 18 minutes
  • The Blues then fought back to take all three points and become champions 

Chelsea produced a second-half fight-back to seal a third successive Women’s Super League title with a 4-2 victory over Manchester United.

Emma Hayes’ side did it the hard way after going behind twice in the first half as United threatened to spoil the party.

It was as if Chelsea had forgotten to flick a switch before kick-off. They looked uncharacteristically nervous and United punished their defensive lapses.

Chelsea Women claimed their third successive Super League title by beating Man United

The Blues' title party got off to a nightmare start when Martha Thomas fired United in front

The Blues’ title party got off to a nightmare start when Martha Thomas fired United in front

But just when they needed a spark, up stepped their player of the season Sam Kerr to score two exceptional second half volleys. The first, with her weaker left foot, flew in a minute after the restart. The second, her 20th goal of the season, made it 4-2 after Guro Reiten had put the Blues ahead 15 minutes earlier.

Hayes had always been adamant the title race would go down to the wire with north London rivals Arsenal breathing down their necks.

The Gunners led the way for the first half of the season after a 3-2 victory over Chelsea on the opening day of the season. But a 2-0 defeat by Birmingham at the start of the year handed the advantage back to the blue half of London.

It has been a marathon rather than a sprint for Chelsea and this has perhaps been the hardest of Hayes’ five league titles.

Erin Cuthbert was then on hand with a leveller for Emma Hayes' side at Kingsmeadow

Erin Cuthbert was then on hand with a leveller for Emma Hayes’ side at Kingsmeadow

But Ella Toone moved United back ahead to leave the league leaders sweating at half-time

But Ella Toone moved United back ahead to leave the league leaders sweating at half-time

It was a different story after the break, with Sam Kerr equalising a minute into the second half

It was a different story after the break, with Sam Kerr equalising a minute into the second half

Guro Reiten only needed another five minutes to edge the hosts in front on the final day

Guro Reiten only needed another five minutes to edge the hosts in front on the final day

MATCH FACTS 

Chelsea (4-3-3): Berger, Carter, Bright, Eriksson, Andersson (Ji 45), Cuthbert, Ingle (England 45), Charles (Nouwen 59), Reiten, Harder (Fleming 77), Kerr (Spence 90+3)

Subs not used: Musovic, Mjelde, James, Abdullina

Booked: None

Goals: Cuthbert 18, Kerr 46, 66 Reiten 51

Manager: Emma Hayes

Manchester United (4-2-3-1): Earps, Batlle, Thorisdottir, Ladd, Blundell, Zelem, Groenen (Bruun 82), Galton (Hanson 65), Toone, Russo, Thomas (Risa 76)

Subs not used: Baggaley, Harris, Moore, Risa, Fuso, Caldwell, Bruun, Smith

Booked: Ladd

Goals: Thomas 13, Toone 25

Manager: Marc Skinner

Referee: Abigail Byrne

 

A final day clash with United, who needed to win to have any chance of finishing third, always looked like a tricky final day match and it proved to be.

It was United who started on the front foot and in the 13th minute Martha Thomas put them ahead, meeting Katie Zelem’s free-kick to head into the top corner. Erin Cuthbert quickly restored calm with a superb half-volley to bring Chelsea level five minutes later. But United were ahead again mid-way through the first half when Toone’s volley deflected off Jonna Andersson and into the near post.

Hayes wasted no time in changing tactics as she brought on Beth England and Ji So-Yun at half-time and her decision was vindicated as Chelsea levelled within a minute of the restart. England’s cross found Cuthbert in the box. Her shot was blocked and bounced up to Kerr, who volleyed into the top left corner.

Five minutes later, Chelsea were ahead. Ji played through Pernille Harder on the left-wing and the forward cut-back for Reiten, who side-footed the ball past United goalkeeper Mary Earps.

Kerr has come up with many title-winning moments throughout the season. There was her stoppage time winner against Aston Villa back in March and her two goals in narrow 2-1 victories over Tottenham. But she arguably saved the best of her 20 goals for last.

Earps’ pass hit Reiten and bounced up to Kerr 25 yards out from goal. The forward chested the ball and then volleyed goalwards. Time seemed to stand still as Earps scrambled to get back but it was no use, the ball flew into the net and Kerr ran over to the Chelsea bench. Job done.

Kerr then added her second and Chelsea's fourth with just under 25 minutes remaining

Kerr then added her second and Chelsea’s fourth with just under 25 minutes remaining

Kerr's double ensured the Blues claimed a third consecutive Women's Super League title

Kerr’s double ensured the Blues claimed a third consecutive Women’s Super League title

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