'World-class' Kerr fires Chelsea into Women's Champions League semi-finals

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Sam Kerr demonstrated once more why she may be the deadliest striker in the women's game as she scored one of the best goals of her prolific season to ease Chelsea's path into the UEFA Women's Champions League semi-finals.

The Matildas' captain produced a classic centre-forward's goal in the first half of the Blues' quarter-final second leg in Budapest on Thursday (AEDT) to help them beat German champions Wolfsburg 3-0 for a 5-1 aggregate victory.

Even beaten Wolfsburg coach Stephan Lerch ended up conceding they had been beaten by a "world-class" goal.

In a tie again played in the Hungarian capital because of COVID-19 restrictions, this was the Women's Super League leaders' best-ever Champions League performance against their bogey side who'd knocked them out of three previous tournaments.

Once again, the combination of Kerr and English international Fran Kirby lay at the heart of the triumph, with both again on the scoresheet as Chelsea's bid for four titles this season gathered further momentum.

Kerr, who also won the 27th-minute penalty which Pernille Harder converted for the Blues' opener, was quite brilliant five minutes later after latching on to a long pass floated into the Wolfsburg box.

She had the strength to control the ball with back to goal, evade the attentions of central defender Sara Doorsoun-Khajeh with two neat touches and swivel to fire into the corner for her 20th goal of the season.

"Sam Kerr today, the second goal - that was world-class," conceded Lerch.

"In defence we didn't do as well, but that is world-class."

The luckless Doorsoun-Khajeh had also been responsible for the spot kick after being outmuscled by Kerr in a battle to get on the end of a long through-ball and resorting to a clumsy foul.

Yet it looked a fortuitous penalty because, although Kerr ended up tumbling into the box, the initial contact happened just outside the area.

With no VAR in operation, ex-Wolfsburg star Harder stepped up to put the tie beyond doubt after Chelsea's 2-1 win in their 'home' leg, also staged in Budapest last week.

With Chelsea controlling proceedings, coach Emma Hayes had the luxury of bringing off Kerr with half an hour left but after soaking up German pressure with some comfort, Kirby was still on hand to strike on the counter in the 81st minute.

It meant that, between them, the 'Special K' pairing have now scored 39 Chelsea goals this season.

Hayes hailed what she felt was her "favourite win" in charge of Chelsea as a "proud day for English football".

"I've waited nine years for today. The players played with that level of control, discipline, assured nature, they carried out what I wanted them to do in its entirety. Everybody did their job.

"That's how we are growing up in Europe. We've played them before and been humiliated."

In the semi-finals, Chelsea look set to meet German opposition again against Bayern Munich, who play Sweden's Rosengard on Friday (AEDT), holding a 3-0 advantage from the first leg of their quarter-final.

Chelsea's great WSL rivals Manchester City beat Barcelona 2-1 in their quarter-final second leg but went down 4-2 on aggregate.

The other last-eight second leg between Ellie Carpenter's Olympique Lyonnais and Paris Saint-Germain has been rescheduled for April 18 after a string of COVID-19 cases within the Lyon squad, who lead 1-0 after the first leg.

Source AAP