London – Chelsea thrashed Arsenal 3-0 to win the 2020-21 Women's F.A. Cup at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, completing the English treble for the first time after winning the League Cup and Women's Super League title earlier this year.
Fran Kirby scored the opening goal after only two minutes and Sam Kerr netted a second-half brace, the latter a delightful chipped finish, to secure a third F.A. Cup for Emma Hayes' side and a third trophy in 2021.
Last season's F.A. Cup was interrupted, then postponed to this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chelsea began the game second to Arsenal in the league standings, having lost a match between the two sides on the opening day of the season.
Chelsea, however, got off to the best possible start when Kirby pounced on a defensive lapse by the Gunners defense, which failed to clear its lines, and hit the ball into the bottom corner.
Chelsea dominated the first half in front of almost 41,000 fans while Arsenal was the shadow of a side that was unbeaten in all competitions this campaign. The absence of injured England defender Leah Williamson was also a blow for Arsenal.
The Blues were incredibly wasteful in front of goal, though, with Kirby having efforts saved by goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger and Australia striker Kerr hitting the bar when clear through one on one.
Kerr made up for that miss shortly after halftime, however, when she ran on to a long ball and cut inside the penalty area, toying with defender Lotte Wubben-Moy before firing a low shot inside the near post.
Jonas Eidevall, in his first season as Arsenal manager, urged his players forward, but they were consistently crowded out by the Chelsea defense which expertly forced key striker Vivianne Miedema out of the game. Arsenal did not have a shot on target.
The result was sealed in the 77th minute, when Kerr chipped the ball over Zinsberger from the right-hand side of the penalty area.
After making up for her misses in the first half, Kerr became the second Australian to lift the F.A. Cup after former Matilda Taryn Rockall won it with Arsenal in 1999.
"It wouldn’t go in in the first half — it could have been 4-0 or 5-0 but they defended well. We knew that if we kept pushing at some point they would go in and they did," Kerr told the BBC.
"I'm paid to score goals but our defense was amazing and it was a team effort — I can't wait to party!"
The match was played on the 100th anniversary of the English F.A. banning professional women's soccer in 1921. The ban lasted nearly 50 years until it was rescinded in January 1970.
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