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Chelsea had a smooth and effortless 4-1 victory over Paris FC, with Sam Kerr scoring a hat-trick to secure their first win in the women’s Champions League this season.
The result had looked in doubt at half-time after the visitors had stunned Emma Hayes’s side with an equaliser from defender Thea Greboval’s header, wiping out the lead given to last year’s semi-finalists when Kerr turned in Lauren James’s cross.
However, two goals scored in the beginning of the second period calmed Chelsea’s anxiety and guaranteed that there would be no surprise from the new team in the tournament at Stamford Bridge. Kerr scored her second and third goals within a span of seven minutes, and substitute Sophie Ingle sealed the victory in stoppage time to secure three points following last week’s contentious draw against Real Madrid.
Chelsea began the match with an unusual lack of energy, giving Paris the advantage in the first 20 minutes. However, both teams were unable to create many scoring opportunities.
James was the first to take advantage of a mistake by Greboval of Paris, who made a careless pass from the back. Greboval’s pass from the edge of the box went straight to Erin Cuthbert, who quickly passed it forward. Kerr cleverly let the ball pass through to James, who was able to capitalize on the opportunity.
With the opportunity to score, Chelsea’s player who scored three goals in the previous match against Liverpool, kicked with her right foot but missed badly and the ball went wide of the goal post.
However, the English winger swiftly redeemed herself. In the 30th minute, Jess Carter passed the ball to her on the left side and with a clever step-over move, she tricked her opponent and brought the ball inside. She then sent a perfectly curved cross between the goalkeeper and defender, allowing Kerr to make a diving effort and give her team the lead.
Johanna Rytting Kaneryd missed a great opportunity to score a second goal when she snuck behind the defense but was stopped by an excellent save from Chiamaka Nnadozie in the opposing team’s goal.
In a matter of minutes, Chelsea’s lead was erased as Paris scored an equalizing goal through a well-executed corner kick from Gaetane Thiney. The ball was crossed in from the right side and Greboval rose above Chelsea’s Cuthbert to head it in from 12 yards. Despite Carter’s attempt to clear the ball off the goal line, it ended up going into the net, giving Paris the goal.
In the beginning of the second half, Chelsea’s goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger made a crucial save for her team. She quickly came out to block Mathilde Bourdieu’s shot after she maneuvered past Kadeisha Buchanan.
The game-changing moment arrived when Chelsea’s lead was quickly regained within a span of two minutes. The catalyst for this turnaround was substitute player Fran Kirby, who initiated the play.
Receiving the ball on the right side, she lifted her head and passed it to Rytting Kaneryd who was running forward from the midfield. Her cross near the goal line just narrowly missed the defender, allowing Kerr to sneak in and score with a quick shot, bringing the score to 2-1.
Chelsea had a significant lead once Kerr scored her third goal. Berger’s powerful kick only needed two touches from Kerr before she lifted the ball over Nnadozie and into the net. Nnadozie may have underestimated the ball’s trajectory as she tried to save it from going under the crossbar.
After that, Paris put up a good fight and could have scored a goal late in the game if Berger hadn’t been aware enough to deflect a high shot over the goal with her fingertips.
However, Chelsea’s dominance became evident. As they secured the win, Ingle easily scored from a corner in the final moments, marking the start of their determined efforts to send their departing coach Hayes off with a Champions League trophy.