Chelsea have won the Women’s FA Cup for the third straight season after a hard-fought, dramatic, and mostly entertaining 1-0 victory over Manchester United in front of a record crowd at Wembley.
United made a very bright start to the game, and had the ball in the back of the net inside the first thirty seconds. Thankfully, Leah Galton’s effort was ruled out for an offside in the build-up.
After surviving the first ten minutes, and an injury scare to Melanie Leupolz, Chelsea settled down but continued to sit back and play largely on the counter, posing little threat, with United controlling proceedings.
BERGER WITH A HUGE SAVE— Vitality Women's FA Cup (@VitalityWFACup) May 14, 2023
Take a bow, @berger_ann! Unreal save from the @ChelseaFCW keeper!#WomensFACup pic.twitter.com/YLAeoWxaIm
Ann-Katrin Berger made an excellent save just past the half-hour mark to keep things level, then Galton missed a point-blank chance, before Chelsea broke forward with purpose and almost snatched the lead. But Lauren James’ deflected header was pushed onto the post by Mary Earps and the two teams headed into the break scoreless.
The goalkeepers are being called into action at @wembleystadium!— Vitality Women's FA Cup (@VitalityWFACup) May 14, 2023
Mary Earps this time with a BIG stop ⛔️#WomensFACup @ManUtdWomen pic.twitter.com/wrc1pPuixc
United made a barnstorming start to the second half as well, and will probably wonder how they didn’t manage to convert that dominance into a goal. Emma Hayes rang the changes just ten minutes into the half to try to stem the tide, bringing on Sophie Ingle and Pernille Harder.
And Harder almost made an instant impact, but was unable to convert Sam Kerr’s threaded ball into the box from the left flank, after she was found for the first time all game with a searching long ball. Chelsea came close a few minutes later as well, but this time Harder couldn’t find the right ball from a tight angle.
But Chelsea did find the breakthrough right after, Harder setting up Kerr at the far post to break the deadlock on 68 minutes.
IT HAD TO BE HER! THE BACKFLIP @samkerr1 loves a BIG goal at @wembleystadium! #WomensFACup pic.twitter.com/y6Fr4cs3NC— Vitality Women's FA Cup (@VitalityWFACup) May 14, 2023
Sophie Ingle missed a glorious chance (set up by Kerr) to make the result safe with 10 minutes to go, but it didn’t matter in the end as Chelsea were able to close out the game — a bit of heroic defending in the final seconds — and win the FA Cup!
- Chelsea in a 4-2-3-1 to start, Kerr as the lone and quite isolated forward. James and Reiten on the wings, Fleming in the middle, supported by a pivot of Leupolz and Cuthbert. Charles and Pèrisset as the full backs with Eriksson and Mjelde holding down the fort at the back in the continuing absence of Millie Bright.
- The double change on the hour-mark key from Hayes, completely changing the flow of the game (Ingle & Harder for Leupolz & Fleming).
- Buchanan on late (for James) to help see out the win and the clean sheet.
- Third straight Women’s FA Cup trophy for Chelsea!
- Not quite 90,000, but 77,390, a world record for a women’s domestic match. Nice!
- Next up: West Ham away on Wednesday. Three games to go in the league; three wins needed for The Double.