Australian soccer star Sam Kerr brings Chelsea closer to the Women’s Champions League quarter-finals
Australian soccer star Sam Kerr brings Chelsea one step closer to the Women’s Champions League quarter-finals with a crucial second-half goal
- Emma Hayes’ side did a hard job dispatching Servette at Kingsmeadow
- In Geneva last week, a relentless Chelsea found itself with a 6-0 lead at halftime.
- Here it took a key blow from Sam Kerr to propel the Blues into the knockout stages.
- Chelsea male star Reece James was in the crowd to see his sister Lauren
Chelsea The women moved closer to a place in the Champions League quarterfinals with a 1-0 win over Servette, thanks to Matildas forward Sam Kerr.
Kerr’s goal in the 67th minute was enough to secure a vital victory that puts them at the top of Group A, with only one point required from their last two games against Juventus and Wolfsburg to secure their place in the quarterfinals.
This was not the classic, ruthless, clinical Chelsea we saw in Geneva last week. The Blues thrashed their opponents 7-0 in the reverse game and were 6-0 up at halftime.
Sam Kerr’s second-half finale made the difference on Thursday when Chelsea edged out Servette
The Australian striker arrived with the decisive moment midway through the second half
Kerr’s goal means Chelsea have taken another step towards the Champions League quarter-finals
But Emma Hayes had said before kick-off that she expected a different game at Kingsmeadow and her opponents improved a lot.
“We got three points and a clean sheet and we are the top of the group,” Hayes said.
“I think the first half was not even close to our standards. I think the second half improved, but I play fair for Servette, I thought they made it difficult for us.
“They had a lot of bodies behind the ball, very aggressive and because of that, I think the time it took us to get into the game.
‘Our best chances came late, maybe the score should have been a bit more, but Zecira Musovic made a great save to keep us on it. So I am happy about all three points. I’m not overwhelmed by our performance. ‘
It had been frustrating for Kerr and his teammates at Kingsmeadow until the trailer.
Servette almost had every player behind the ball and they successfully thwarted the Blues
Chelsea (4-3-3): Musovic, Mjelde, Bright, Eriksson, Andersson (Cuthbert 69), Ingle (Leupolz 68), Ji, Charles, Kirby (James 85), Kerr (Reiten 85), England (Fleming 68)
Unused subs: Telford, Berger, Carter, Spence, Fox
Goals: Kerr 67
Manager: Emma Hayes
Servette (4-2-3-1): Pereira, Soulard, Felber, Spalti, Mendes, Maendly (Redondo 90 + 1), Tufo (Tamplin 90 + 2), Padilla-Bidas (Bourma 70), Lagonia, Nakkach, Boho (Fleury 80)
Unused subs: Droz, Grivaz
Manager: Eric Severac
Referee: Hristiyana Guteva
Natalia Padilla-Bidas gave Chelsea an early scare when she came in behind Millie Bright, but her cross shot went off the left post.
Fran Kirby came close on the other end in the ninth minute when she was played by Ji So-Yun, but her close-range effort was saved by the legs of Servette’s goalkeeper, Ines Pereira.
Despite his possession, that was the closest the Blues came to opening the scoring in the first half. Kirby was the brightest player in the first 45 minutes and seemed the one most likely to create something when the game restarted.
The forward forced Pereira to make a save at his first post before Ji had a deflected effort. Jonna Anderson then came close while trying to connect with England center, but Elodie Nakkach made a vital block.
Servette failed to get a shot on goal on the reverse accessory, but twice they came close to taking an unlikely lead just after the hour mark. First, Monica Mendes backed down in an effort towards goal that only Zecira Musovic managed to hold out. Then Jade Boho tested Musovic with another shot from the area.
But the lack of quality from the visitors was revealing and moments later Kerr showed why it will be the Blues who will eventually advance to the quarterfinals.
Kirby found space to the right and spent a good time on the Australian’s feet, who passed over Nathalia Spalti before finishing in the lower left corner.
Servette was reduced to ten in the 82nd minute when Amandine Soulard was sent off for a second yellow card after a late tackle on Niamh Charles. In truth, he could have been gone 10 minutes earlier when he dragged Kerr, who appeared to be running towards goal.
Servette was later reduced to 10 players, but Chelsea were unable to take advantage of their advantage.
While Kerr’s goal was the most important contribution of the night, another significant moment came in the 85th minute when summer signature Lauren James stepped in to debut, with her brother Reece staring into the stands.
Fans have been itching to see the forward since she moved from Manchester United, but Hayes has been careful not to rush her into the team after sustaining multiple injuries last season.
She had a chance to make the perfect debut when Erin Cuthbert chose her in the area, but her shot flew over the bar.
“I thought it was exceptional,” Hayes said of James’ debut. “ She came on the field and the ball got stuck, she held it very well, she linked very well, she could probably have scored two goals.
“We have not hidden the fact that we have to improve his physical condition, but he showed that he can contribute something to the team, his technical qualities are outrageous and I am looking forward to building on tonight’s debut.”