May 26, 2024

Chelsea’s manager, Emma Hayes, commended the performance of Sam Kerr, describing her as “80 per cent fit” after the striker’s hat-trick secured a 4-1 victory against Paris FC in the Champions League at Stamford Bridge. Kerr, who had been recovering from injury and had a modest start to the Women’s Super League season, demonstrated her goal-scoring prowess in the European clash.

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Kerr opened the scoring in the 30th minute by converting Lauren James’s well-placed cross. Paris FC managed to equalize with Thea Greboval’s header before half-time, but Kerr quickly restored Chelsea’s lead in the second half with two rapid-fire goals. The first came from a far-post finish from Johanna Rytting Kaneryd’s delivery, and the second was an effort that looped over the goalkeeper.

Chelsea 4-1 Paris FC - Sam Kerr scores hat-trick as Blues claim first  Women's Champions League group stage win - Eurosport

Sophie Ingle added a late goal in stoppage time, securing a convincing win for Chelsea. Hayes revealed that she had predicted Kerr’s hat-trick before the match and praised the striker’s goal-scoring instincts, highlighting her alertness and decisive movement. Despite Kerr not being at peak fitness, Hayes expressed excitement about the striker’s performance at 80 percent and anticipated even better displays at full fitness.

Hayes also explained her decision to start Fran Kirby on the bench, with Kirby returning from injury. Kirby played a crucial role in the second half, assisting in Rytting Kaneryd’s cross for Kerr’s second goal. Hayes emphasized the importance of managing Kirby’s workload to ensure her health for both England and Chelsea.

Reflecting on the match, Hayes acknowledged Paris FC’s quality and attributed Chelsea’s first-half sloppiness to the accumulation of games. She highlighted the physical demands of continuous play and praised the team’s ability to persevere. Hayes, who will soon depart to coach the US women’s national team, commended Kirby’s cameo appearance and emphasized the need to keep her healthy for future competitions.

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