LONDON - Sam Kerr's superb first-half goal gave Chelsea a 1-0 home win over Manchester United that saw them climb past the Red Devils to the top of the Women's Super League after a tight, tense encounter at Kingsmeadow on Sunday.
Chelsea are now in pole position in the standings on 37 points after 14 of the season's 22 league games, two points ahead of United and with a game in hand. Manchester City are third on 32 points.
United keeper Mary Earps had to make two early saves from Kerr after Chelsea got in behind the high United backline, but the visitors' defense did not heed the warning and it was soon to be third time lucky for the Australian. Lauren James lofted a superbly-weighted long ball in behind the defense in the 23rd minute and Kerr chested it down expertly before lifting it over Earps for a sublime finish that takes the Australian to 22 goals in all competitions this season.
SAM KERR TAKE A BOWWhat a goal to put Chelsea in front!
— Attacking Third (@AttackingThird) March 12, 2023
Alessia Russo had a great chance to put United level 12 minutes later but her snap shot flew straight at Ann-Katrin Berger, and United also had a strong penalty appeal turned down when Nikita Parris was brought down by Kadeisha Buchanan. Despite their title hopes being in danger of suffering a serious blow, United lacked composure in the second half and they did little to threaten the Chelsea goal, rendering Kerr's strike enough for the Blues to secure a crucial win in the title race.
(Reporting by Philip O'Connor)