Australia

Sam Kerr’s Chelsea to meet Arsenal’s Aussie trio in women’s FA Cup final


Matildas skipper Sam Kerr has booked a Wembley return with Chelsea defeating holders Manchester City 3-0 in the Women’s FA Cup semi-finals.

At Wembley, she will face an Arsenal squad featuring Australian team-mates Steph Catley, Caitlin Foord, and Lydia Williams, though only Foord played as they defeated Brighton 3-0 in the other semi-final overnight.

For the Gunners’ Aussie trio, it will be their first outing at Wembley, but Kerr had a game to forget when she made her debut there in August 2020.

She missed a string of chances in the FA Women’s Community Shield final prompting questions about her ability to settle in England.

Those questions have long been answered with the West Australian showing the same lethal finishing she demonstrated in Australian and American club football, as well as in the green and gold.

Kerr won the Women’s Super League Golden Boot in her first full season with Chelsea, while also helping them reach the Champions League final the same year.

Nevertheless, while Kerr has nothing to prove, she will relish a Wembley return in a final that had been rescheduled from May due to the pandemic.

This will be her first FA Cup final appearance since arriving in England in 2019.

Kerr failed to score in Sunday’s semi-final against City, but she did not need to as the Women’s Super League champions brushed aside the injury-hit Cup holders.

City have suffered a crippling injury list and had to field two midfielders in their back four as well as their third-choice goalkeeper.

Exacerbating the crisis, City were unable to play Matildas defender Alanna Kennedy, who was deemed ineligible after having previously played for Tottenham in this season’s competition.

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However, they do have options in attack. Australian Hayley Raso, who is returning from a shoulder injury, was left on the bench.

Chelsea dominated their semi-final from the start. They took firm command with two goals in five minutes midway through the first half from Scotland’s Erin Cuthbert and Germany’s Melanie Leupolz, both of which should have been saved by City keeper Karima Taieb.

Kerr made way for Beth England shortly before the hour and the England striker wrapped up victory with a goal that concluded City’s biggest home defeat since 2014.

In the second semi-final, Arsenal were held to a goalless first half by Brighton, but once captain Kim Little broke the deadlock in the 50th minute the Gunners’ progress seemed likely. Four minutes later, it was all but certain as Beth Mead struck for 2-0.

Leah Williamson added a third towards the end.

It will be their first FA Cup final appearance since 2018, where they lost to their upcoming opponents 3-1.

AAP/ABC


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