Chelsea’s defense of their Women’s Super League title is in their hands. But Manchester City is still in hot heels, following an exciting clash at The Academy Stadium.
Lauren Hemp‘s late equalizer confirmed that City remains two points behind Chelsea with two games to go after a surprise reunion.
Lauren Hemp was left on the sidelines following a mistake by Chelsea. Duo Fran Kirby and Millie Bright made it 2-2 after Pernille Harder kicked the visitors a chance to take the lead.
Sam Kerr hit the opener with a powerful header before City’s Chloe Kelly equalized for the equalizer.
The City had many chances to win late. But Chelsea goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger pulled out a miracle for denying Hemp before stopping the Georgia Stanway strike.
Lucy Bronze came out on top from an unmarked spot during the break.
At the same time, Kerr had a chance for all but blocked the Chelsea title with the game’s final kick.
But the goal was denied when they faced goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck.
Match submitted as the title winner.
Both managers agreed in formulating that the outcome of the match would play a major role in the direction of the title.
It was recommended that it be the best match of the season between the two teams.
That, as Man City manager Gareth Taylor explained, had been “crying” for months.
It did not disappoint as it had everything to do with the WSL winner. Penalty issue, quality on both sides, and the continuous flow of attacking football.
The noise was set up less than two minutes from City when Kelly’s drive downright forced saving in the area near Berger before Bronze reduced Kerr after robbing her of her belongings.
They were in charge for the first 15 minutes as Hemp and Kelly continued to create problems from Chelsea’s wide range of positions, while Sam, Mewis showed her strength in the middle of the pitch.
But Kerr could get in after City’s defense twice in the first few minutes before her head opened with a goal, and Chelsea built up their momentum.
Roebuck was getting the ball and Kerr’s big cut. While being punched in the box, but Harder kept her cool to put it inside.
As the game progressed, it became more and more open – City put pressure on them late as the winner would turn them into a title race.
Berger’s heroism denies that Hemp and Stanway kept Chelsea in it.
But Bronze missed a golden opportunity as she twisted her wide head from an unmarked spot six yards in the stand.
Kerr then ran face-to-face with the game’s final act, and it would not have been a surprise if another amazing opportunity ensued. But Roebuck pretended to be big and blocked the shot.
Chelsea could win the title at Tottenham in their next match.
Chelsea could win the title at Tottenham in their next match on May 2 if City does not slip up.
But the result has been a bittersweet win for Chelsea with the trophy in their hands two games to go.
And manager Emma Hayes’ celebrations have proved this on the pitch in full.
Manchester City manager Gareth Taylor:
“To me, it looked like a winner late. We had a good chance, and their goalkeeper made a world-class save.
There is still a chance, but you can understand the players’ disappointment. It looked like we were going to find the winner late, but we were out of date.”
In what they need to beat Chelsea:
“Details. You can see that it is very little between the two teams.
We are at a higher level or less. We have shown that we can be there with them. I think it’s just time and a little detail.
“I’m proud of the way we have played and the football we played this season.”
Chelsea manager Emma Hayes:
“They should have won the game. So Man City was expected to come to us when they beat 2-1 at half-time. It was not comfortable. It was one of those we felt we should see.
“The whole group have stayed together and remained stable where necessary.
Eventually, they turned any fears into fun, and in the end, that was the only fun we had fully.
“I’m so relieved the game is over. I hated every minute of the second half! It was so uncomfortable and painful. I’m glad it’s over.
“As I have said many times, you can score goals to win games, but the defense wins the title.
Ann Katrin-Berger is an incredible asset to the team. If she is under a lot of pressure, she responds more.