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Sam Kerr has put the seal on a landmark week, scoring two dazzling volleyed goals to power Chelsea to a third consecutive Women’s Super League title.
With Chelsea 2-1 down and their title hopes in serious jeopardy, the Australian captain blasted home a crucial thunderbolt equaliser at the start of the second half to launch a brilliant 4-2 comeback win over Manchester United on Monday (AEST).
But that was just the warm-up act before Kerr provided an astonishing piece of skill in the 66th minute for Chelsea’s fourth, taking the ball on her chest and swivelling instantly to hit a looped right-foot volley for her 20th – and best – WSL goal of the season.
It capped a fantastic week for the Matildas striker, who’d been crowned the English football writers’ women’s player of the year on Thursday.
Her special strikes, which won her the player of the match award, also ensured she landed the Golden Boot as the WSL’s top scorer for the second successive season.
“I don’t set myself out to win the Golden Boot – I just do what I can for my team to win,” said Kerr afterwards, reflecting on her extraordinary brace.
The first goal? “I don’t score too many lefties but just saw it come and thought I’d hit it,” she smiled.
What about the second, after she’d controlled a header from teammate Guro Reiten with back to goal before turning in an instant to lob Manchester United goalie Mary Earps, who’d strayed off her line?
“I dunno, I visualise scoring crazy goals like that all the time! I thought just try it, let’s have a pop,” smiled Kerr.
“Guro headed it to me, it sat up nicely, I just chested it down and whacked it and it went in! I didn’t even know the keeper was out, I thought I’d just try it.”
But Kerr’s joy spelt heartbreak for three Matildas teammates, who’d been hoping to lift the title with the Blues’ London rivals Arsenal on the final day of the season.
Steph Catley scored a fine second-half goal in Arsenal’s 2-0 win at West Ham, while Caitlin Foord also featured and Aussie international keeper Lydia Williams was on the bench.
Yet, agonisingly for Arsenal, their win still left them one point behind Chelsea, who lifted their fourth title in five years.
Once again, the champions were indebted to the big match brilliance of Kerr on a nervy afternoon at their Kingsmeadow home in south-west London where the title, at halftime, was slipping away as Arsenal led the title race on goal difference.
Martha Thomas headed United in front in 13 minutes, before Chelsea’s Scottish international Erin Cuthbert smashed home an equaliser five minutes later.
But United went 2-1 up at the interval with a first-time deflected volley from Ella Toone in the 25th minute and Kerr’s major contribution came in defence as she blocked a goal-bound volley from Maria Thorisdottir.
Yet Kerr rewrote the script just 47 seconds after the break with her goal. Normally, she’s a box predator but these two efforts were among only three she’s scored from outside the area this season.
Chelsea then went ahead with Reiten finishing off a slick team move before Kerr’s astonishing fourth.
“I was just awe-struck, it was a really special moment, the connect was just…unbelievable,” said Kerr’s teammate Jessie Fleming.
“Such a special goal, she was on fire today.”