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Kirby has hand in six goals as Chelsea thrash Bristol City to win League Cup


Chelsea celebrated
Chelsea players celebrated with the shirt of Maren Mjelde, who went to hospital with a second-half injury

Chelsea retained the Women’s League Cup with a record-breaking final win over Bristol City at Vicarage Road.

Sam Kerr scored a hat-trick and Fran Kirby had a hand in all six goals.

England’s Kirby laid on an early tap-in for Kerr, and the pair combined again soon after for Kerr to double the lead.

Kirby pounced on City goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley’s poor clearance to finish and then added a fourth with a low strike before setting up Kerr’s hat-trick and Guro Reiten in the second half.

A perfect day for Chelsea, who are aiming for a clean sweep of trophies, was marred late on as Norwegian defender Maren Mjelde was carried off on a stretcher and went to hospital with what appeared to be a serious knee injury.

Fran Kirby
Fran Kirby was involved in all six cup final goals – taking her season tally to 13 goals and 10 assists

Robins interim manager Matt Beard had overseen a rich vein of form with three wins and a draw in their previous five lifting them off the bottom of the Women’s Super League table for the first time since September.

However, Chelsea, who landed their eighth major trophy, highlighted the gulf in class to win their second League Cup by the biggest margin of victory in a final.

City had conceded 14 goals to the Blues without reply in two league meetings this season, and Kerr’s early double quickly opened old wounds before Baggaley had two moments to forget, gifting Kirby her first goal before allowing the England striker’s low shot to squirm past her.

With the result a formality and a Champions League quarter-final with Wolfsburg on the horizon, Emma Hayes made three changes at half-time, but Chelsea showed no signs of easing off as Kirby added two more assists for Kerr’s treble and Reiten.

The Robins enjoyed a good spell after Kerr and Kirby were also taken off to rest, but recently capped England forward Ebony Salmon’s powerful strike was denied by a fine save from Ann-Katrin Berger as their first-ever cup final appearance ended without consolation.

Chelsea boss Emma Hayes: “Today was a performance from a team that is very confident at the moment.

“Qualifying for the quarters of the Champions League has given us so much confidence.

“I thought we were unbelievable for the first 60 minutes. The pace, the intensity, the cohesiveness of the team. Sam Kerr and Fran Kirby were unbelievable today.”

On Maren Mjelde’s injury: “It is a bittersweet moment for me. Maren is a huge presence in our dressing room, she is the mother hen.

“I am devastated for her, I know it’s a bad one. That win is for her today.”

Hat-trick scorer Sam Kerr: “We are not stopping here – we will enjoy it tonight, but tomorrow we turn back to the league. We are going to keep going until we win as many (trophies) as we can.”

Bristol City interim manager Matt Beard: “The occasion got the better of us, no matter how much we tried to play it down in the week.

“Earlier this week I asked the team how many of them have been in a cup final, and only one of them put their hand up.”





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