Prolific Matildas skipper and striker Sam Kerr has done it again, this time spurring Chelsea to a 4-1 victory over Paris FC in the Champions League.
Kerr bagged a hat-trick as the Blues scored a vital victory in Group D at Stamford Bridge to keep pace with surprise log-leaders Hacken on Thursday night (Friday AEDT).
The Swedish club earlier went top of the table after coming from behind to upset Real Madrid 2-1 at Bravida Arena, thanks to goals from Rosa Kafaji and Saara Katariina Kosola.
Signe Bruun netted for Real as early in the ninth minute only to concede twice in the second half.
The visitors brought on Matildas winger Hayley Raso in a bid to rescue a point, but it was to no avail.
Raso’s Matildas teammate Kerr, however, could not be denied in London.
Chelsea started unusually subdued and allowed Paris to have the better of the first 20 minutes.
The first opening fell to Lauren James and it came from a mistake by Thea Greboval at the back for Paris. The defender played a casual, aimless pass out from the edge of the box straight to the feet of Erin Cuthbert, whose quick ball forward was dummied by Kerr and allowed to run on to James.
With the goal at her mercy, Chelsea’s hat-trick hero last time out against Liverpool opened up her right foot and skewed horribly wide of the post.
Yet the England winger soon made amends. On the half-hour mark the ball was worked to her wide on the left by Jess Carter, and with a deft step-over to fox her marker she carried it inside and delivered a curling cross that pitched perfectly between goalkeeper and defender for Kerr to lunge in and prod her side in front.
But within minutes Chelsea’s advantage was wiped out and the equaliser was simply worked. Gaetane Thiney’s corner was swept over from the right for Paris, and there rising highest above the grounded Cuthbert from 12 yards was Greboval, her header looping into the air and over the head of Carter whose goalline intervention succeeded only in helping the ball into the roof of the net.
Chelsea goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger saved her team in the first minute of the second half, flying out at the feet of Mathilde Bourdieu after she had stepped inside Kadeisha Buchanan to make space to shoot.
It turned out to be the moment on which the game turned. Within two minutes, Chelsea’s lead was restored and it was substitute Fran Kirby who began the move.
Picking up the ball wide on the right, she looked up and fed the charging Rytting Kaneryd bursting forward from midfield. Her low cross into the six-yard box evaded the defender by a millimetre, and there stealing in with a poacher’s finish was Kerr to make it 2-1.
Chelsea were out of sight when Kerr completed her hat-trick, Berger’s long, searching kick requiring only two touches from the Australian before she hoisted the ball high over Chiamake Nnadozie, who may have misjudged its flight as she sought to paw it out from underneath the crossbar.
But Chelsea’s superiority showed. With victory assured, Sophie Ingle slid the ball home unmarked from a corner at the death as their bid to send departing new US women’s boss Emma Hayes out with a Champions League medal began in earnest.