Chelsea 3-2 Manchester City
By Darrell Allen at Wembley Stadium (16/5/22)
Chelsea made it a League and Cup double on Sunday with a dramatic extra-time win in the FA Cup Final.
In front of a record crowd of 49,094, Emma Hayes’ side came out on top in a high-quality contest that ebbed and flowed from the off as arguably the two best teams in the country produced a wonderful sporting spectacle.
It was Manchester City who started brightest and had the first two chances of the game, Caroline Weir fired over after receiving the ball following good footwork from Lauren Hemp. Hemp then had a chance of her own that was superbly blocked by Millie Bright.
Chelsea then dealt their first punch of the contest, Sam Kerr thought she had opened the scoring when she rounded Ellie Roebuck and placed the ball in the net but the flag was rightly up for offside
The opening goal came on 33 minutes when Millie Bright’s cross-shot went over Roebuck’s head and was on its way in but Kerr made sure on the line by nodding in.
Manchester City came back and equalised three minutes before the break when, not for the first time in the game, the Chelsea defence stood off. After previously getting away with it, this time they paid the ultimate price. Hemp was allowed to freely cut inside past Bright and curl a glorious effort into the top corner.
Manchester City started the second half brightly and it was Hemp again threatening, but this time she was thwarted superbly by Ann-Katrin Berger to keep Chelsea on level terms.
The next roll of the dice was from Chelsea as outstanding performer Erin Cuthbert received a ball from Beth England and fired a rocket of a shot past Roebuck that clipped the underside of the bar and went in. The Scot’s incredible strike sparked wild scenes at the east end of the stadium where she found the net in front of most of the Chelsea supporters.
Just as it looked like the holders would see the game out, the final act of normal time belonged to Manchester City. Alex Greenwood superbly played a ball past Magdalena Eriksson to find Hayley Raso who controlled beautifully, showed outstanding strength to hold off the Swedish defender and then smash it past Berger to force extra time.
At the start of the additional period, Blues boss Hayes made what appeared to arguably be a defensive change as the more attack-minded Guro Reiten was replaced by Jonna Andersson as the momentum appeared to be with Manchester City at the start of extra time. This was to be Andersson’s final appearance for the West Londoners before joining Damallsvenskan side Hammarby.
City started extra time brightest as Berger had to superbly deny Ellen White from tapping in a Weir cross.
Chelsea, however, have Sam Kerr and the Western Australian was there when it mattered to serve up the final chapter of an unforgettable occasion as her international team-mate Alanna Kennedy made an error by misjudging Bright’s clearance and the East Fremantle-born star was there to pick up the pieces, drive forward and shoot. Roebuck was slightly wrong-footed by a deflection, but Kerr’s shot was well on target in any case.
Chelsea saw out the remaining 20 minutes to seal a league and Cup double, which served as a special way to finish for outgoing players Ji So-Yun, Drew Spence and Jonna Andersson.
Player of the Match: Erin Cuthbert
Teams: CHELSEA: Berger, Eriksson, Nouwen, Bright, Carter, Ingle, Cuthbert, Reiten, Harder, England, Kerr. Subs: Musovic (GK), Ji, Kirby, Fleming, Mjelde, James, Charles, Spence, Andersson.
Scorers: Kerr 33′, 99′. Cuthbert 63′.
MANCHESTER CITY: Roebuck, Bronze, Kennedy, Greenwood, Stokes, Walsh, Stanway, Weir, Kelly, Hemp, Shaw. Substitutes: Keating (GK), Coombs, Angeldahl, Raso, Park, Losada, White, Mace, Blakstad.
Scorers: Hemp 42′, Raso 89′.
Referee: Kirsty Dowle