Kerr and Kirby star as Chelsea thrash Bristol City to win League CupWomen’s Continental League Cup final: Chelsea 6-0 Bristol CityHat-trick for Kerr and two for Kirby, who has hand in all goals Sam Kerr (centre) celebrates with her Chelsea teammates after they won the League Cup final 6-0 against Bristol City on Sunday. Photograph: Naomi Baker/Getty Images
Bristol City 0 Chelsea 6 Masterful Chelsea ruthlessly dismantled Bristol City to win the Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup final but manager Emma Hayes said it was a “bittersweet” moment as a late, serious-looking knee injury suffered by defender Maren Mjelde dampened their celebrations. Victory saw Chelsea win the first of a potential quadruple of major honours this season but Mjelde was being treated in hospital by the time her team-mates held the trophy aloft, after screaming in agony as she went down before receiving oxygen as she was stretchered off the field following a lengthy stoppage. That came after Australia striker Sam Kerr had scored a 49-minute hat-trick and Fran Kirby starred with two goals and four unselfish assists, in a game the Women’s Super League leaders could have won by an even more humiliating margin.
There could not have been a better time for Bristol City to deliver their performance of the season than Monday. In beating Reading 3-2, not only did it lift them off the foot of the table for the first time since September, it was also the most thrilling Women's Super League game so far. Just ask Chelsea manager Emma Hayes. "I texted [City interim manager] Matt Beard after the game and said it was my favourite game to watch all season," Hayes told reporters earlier this week. "That’s Bristol City right now... they're quality." Hayes is right, there is a momentum behind City ahead of their first Cup final in the club's history today. It is momentum they will need in spades if they are to upset her reigning champions Chelsea at Vicarage Road. Today is not the first time Bristol City have been called the underdogs, of course. Defender Laura Rafferty and goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley definitely do not need reminding, they have been hearing it all season. "People automatically call us the underdogs, it's something that we've embraced," Rafferty laughs. Today it rings truer than ever though. Since the League Cup's rebrand 10 years ago, there has not been a more unevenly matched finale. Beard's last chance at silverware comes close, when his WSL-debutant West Ham side were blown away 3-0 by Manchester City in the 2019 FA Cup final, but the odds feel even more stacked against him now. City have failed to score against Chelsea in their two previous meetings this season - and conceded 14 times.
City won their first League Cup title for 38 years on this day seven years ago.