Sam Kerr wins third straight FA Cup for Chelsea in unprecedented scenes
The Matildas ace was the star of the show again amid record drama in England.
Sam Kerr has once again proved the hero for Chelsea as the Australian captain scored the winning goal to clinch a stunning three-peat for the Blues in the English Women's FA Cup final. Chelsea wrapped up a third consecutive FA Cup title with a 1-0 victory over Manchester United in front of a record women's football crowd at Wembley.
With a whopping 77,390 packed into the stands at Wembley - a world record for a women's domestic match in England - Kerr's second half goal proved the difference as Chelsea became the first side since Arsenal in 2008 to win three consecutive women's FA Cup trophies. The Matildas captain was set up after a superb run and cross from Pernille Harder, before side-footing her finish past FIFA Women's Goalkeeper of the Year Mary Earps.
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It was Kerr's fifth goal in three FA Cup finals, and her 10th in six domestic finals with Chelsea, celebrated with her trademark backflip. One week after bearing Australia's flag at the King's Coronation, Kerr had carried Chelsea to another crown.
This was a royal occasion, too, with Prince William among the record crowd at England's national stadium. "We didn't have our best game today but that's a sign of a great team when you just push through," said Kerr. "Everyone did their part and we stuck with it and ended up winning.
Kerr showed her humble side after being named player of the match by declaring: "I don't deserve this. There are people way more deserving than me today, but I will take it on behalf of the team."
Chelsea manager Emma Hayes - who has worked with the likes of women's greats Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd and Kelly Smith - could not understate how good her Aussie striker is. "I've never coached a player like Sam Kerr," Hayes said.
"She has such conviction, courage, the way she attacks everything. I love that she's willing to take responsibility at the top end of the pitch."
Sam Kerr has scored in three FA Cup finals in a row.
Born for the big stage 💙 pic.twitter.com/cc1PAC92tz
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) May 14, 2023
World record for attendance at a domestic women’s match. Incredible atmosphere, sold out Wembley is iconic for the state of women’s football globally! Congrats @ChelseaFCW & my god Sam Kerr ❤️🇦🇺 pic.twitter.com/ztF6pxk8P0
— Nic Errol (@Nic_Errol) May 14, 2023
I’d trust Sam Kerr in front of goal over any of the players at Chelsea rn. Best goalscorer at the club by a country mile. Incredible 🙌🏻
— Josh Raposo (@joshraposo__) May 14, 2023
Sam Kerr is extraordinary. I think she's the biggest big game player I have ever seen, including the men.
Shows up big, every time. https://t.co/eBfZdzh3HO
— Papa Burrito (@bule_jr) May 14, 2023
The final almost got off to a sensational start, with Manchester United having the ball in the Chelsea net after 16 seconds through Leah Galton. But Ella Toone had run offside as she broke down the right before delivering the cross for Galton.
However, the disallowed chance settled United who were playing their first final, and for a majority of their players, making their fist appearance at Wembley. They went on to control the first half while Chelsea struggled to provide Kerr with any service.
Chelsea keeper Ann-Katrin Berger had to claw away a deflected shot by Millie Turner, Nikita Parris was fouled fractions outside the box, and both Galton and Alessia Russo had chances. Yet Chelsea would have led at the break but for Earps touching a 41st-minute Lauren James header onto the post.
United enjoyed a midfield strangehold until Harder replaced Fleming just before the hour mark. Shortly after her introduction, Harder and Kerr combined for the decisive moment to put Chelsea on their way to another domestic triumph. United forced a few goalmouth scrambles as they searched for a leveller, but had no one with the finishing touch of Kerr.
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