Chelsea 4-1 Paris FC: Sam Kerr’s hat-trick leads Chelsea to victory at Stamford Bridge

Protecting an unblemished record this season after emerging victorious in all four of their Barclays Women’s Super League encounters, Emma Hayes recalled Ann-Katrin Berger, Johanna Rytting Kaneryd and Ashley Lawrence to her starting eleven following their 5-1 WSL demolition job of Liverpool. However, captain Millie Bright missed out due to a problematic knee injury, with her place taken by Kadeisha Buchanan.

CHE: Berger, Lawrence, Buchanan, Carter, Charles; Nüsken, Cuthbert; Kaneryd, Fleming, James; Kerr

PAR: Nnadozie; Soyer, Sissoko, Grébova; Bogaert; Corboz, Korošec, Thiney; Matéo, Julie Dufour, Bourdieu

Undefeated in their opening eight matches of the 2023/24 campaign – on both a domestic and European front – Chelsea bossed possession throughout the opening 12 minutes, but it was the visitors who had the first shot on target as Paris striker Mathilde Bourdieu forced a low save from the returning Ann-Katrin Berger.

Despite that, Chelsea should have broken the deadlock shortly after, but Lauren James – fresh off a hat-trick against Liverpool this past weekend – could only slice her promising effort from inside the penalty area disappointingly wide of the mark.

Nonetheless, James would play a quintessential part in Chelsea breaking the deadlock shortly after the half-hour mark, as the England international exquisitely put it on a plate for deputising Blues’ captain Sam Kerr to get ahead of Théa Grébova, and fire the ball past Chiamaka Nnadozie into the back of the net.

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Johanna Rytting Kaneryd then came close to doubling the hosts’ advantage almost immediately from the restart, however, the Paris number one was up to the challenge on this occasion, producing a brilliant save to keep the scoreline at one-nil.

Ominously, Chelsea’s lead only lasted for a brief period, as Grébova equalised for the Parisians with eight first-half minutes left by authoritatively looping Gaëtane Thiney’s perfectly-timed inswinging corner over the heads of both Berger and a Blues’ defender on the goalline.

Sitting only three points behind Division 1 Féminine leaders, Olympique Lyonnais Féminin, Paris flew out of the away dressing following the restart to proceedings for the commencement of the second half, as Berger came to Chelsea’s rescue by instinctively preventing Bourdieu’s effort from hitting the back of the net.

In ruthless fashion, Emma Hayes’ side would restore their lead in the 48th minute as Kerr doubled her and the Blues’ tally for the evening with an phenomenally-taken close-range finish following Kaneryd’s pin-point pass towards the penalty spot.

Kerr completed a memorable hat-trick in the 55th minute as the goal-hungry forward exquisitely lifted the ball over the retreating figure of Nnadozie. Plaudits must also go to Berger for seeing the instinctive positioning of the Australian international on the shoulder of the last Paris defender from inside her own penalty box.

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Alongside taking the ball home, Kerr could, and probably should have had a fourth goal to her name after the stroke of the hour mark, but on this occasion she could only fire her effort the wrong side of Nnadozie’s post. Kerr understandably would earn a standing ovation from the home faithful located in the East Stand at Stamford Bridge in the 75th minute as she was replaced by Mia Fishel.

Berger went on to deny Julie Dufour with a smart save with time running down in the second half, but it was Chelsea who wrote the final script of the scoresheet, as substitute Sophie Ingle cleverly swept home Ève Périsset’s low corner for the Blues’ fourth of the night, to subsequently add further gloss to their first victory of the 2023/24 UEFA Women’s Champions League campaign.

The convincing win takes Chelsea to within two points of BK Häcken FF at the summit of Group D. Meanwhile, Paris CF remain at the foot of the standings after ending on the losing side in both of their 2023/24 UEFA Women’s Champions League matches – excluding qualification – so far.