Australia’s Sam Kerr has scored twice, and was named player of the match, as Chelsea won the Women’s FA Cup final at Wembley with a 3-0 victory over Arsenal.
Kerr has gone down in history as the first Australian woman to collect an FA Cup winners’ medal at Wembley, the third of any gender after Craig Johnston and Harry Kewell.
True to form, the ebullient Matildas captain was left celebrating with the bottle of champagne awarded to her as player of the match afterwards, declaring: “This will go down a treat — I can’t wait to party!”
Asked if she had a message for family and friends watching in Australia, Kerr added: “I love you guys, I wish you could be here. These are the moments as a player that you play in and wish your family is here.
“But my girlfriend [US international Kristie Mewis] is here and I tried to put on a show.”
Kerr had missed two good chances in the first half of Sunday’s final, striking the bar with one, but she would not be denied, scoring in the 57th and 77th minutes after England’s Fran Kirby had put Chelsea ahead in the third.
Steph Catley played the whole match for Arsenal and Caitlin Foord came on for the last 20 minutes, but neither Australian could make much impact as Chelsea competed a domestic 2020-21 treble, this final having been put back from May due to COVID-19.
Chelsea manager Emma Hayes said of Kerr: “So many wondered how Sam would cope in the English game. As far as I am concerned, she is the best striker in the world.”
Virtually fresh of the plane, having arrived back on Thursday after playing twice for Australia last week, Kerr was immediately in the thick of the action.
After two minutes her attempted flick-on of a forward pass bounced off Arsenal’s Frida Maanum and into the path of Fran Kirby, Kerr’s original target.
The England striker coolly converted.
The duo — known to Chelsea fans as ‘Kerr-by’ — combined again four minutes later with a neat one-two on the edge of the box to release Kerr.
But she shot too close to Manuela Zinsberger and the Austrian ‘keeper was able to block.
Kerr soon got behind the Arsenal defence again, this time cutting the ball back for Kirby whose fierce shot was turned onto the post by Zinsberger.
Prior to the match, it had looked as if the pairing of Catley and Ireland’s Katie McCabe could trouble makeshift Chelsea right-back Erin Cuthbert but such was the Blues’ control Arsenal struggled to sustain any pressure.
Instead, it was Kerr again who should have scored after 35 minutes.
Having powered past Lotte Wubben-Moy onto a long ball she advanced on Zinsberger before dinking a clever shot over the keeper only to see the ball hit the bar.
Kerr finally got on the scoresheet when Kirby sent her clear on the left. She ran at Wubben-Moy before driving the ball through her legs inside the near post.
Ten minutes later, Kerr beat Wubben-Moy again, advanced on Zinsberger, and beat her with a sublime chip.
“It wouldn’t go in [in the first half] but we knew it was coming,” said Kerr. “We knew if we keep pushing at some point they would go in and they did.”