Kirby & Aluko score to put Chelsea Ladies on brink of title


Chelsea won the Women’s FA Cup for a second time seven days prior to hosting Sunderland

Chelsea moved within just one point of the Women’s Super League One title with two games to go as they beat Sunderland soon after rivals Manchester City lost.

Victory ensured that Chelsea can secure a league and cup double if they avoid defeat at Bristol City on Tuesday.

Fran Kirby’s heavily-deflected strike and Eni Aluko’s close-range finish gave Emma Hayes’s side a two-goal lead.

Sunderland pulled one back through Keira Ramshaw’s late, crisp finish off the post, but defeat kept them ninth.

Hayes’ side, who beat Bristol City 6-0 on the season’s opening weekend in the reverse fixture, are bidding to reclaim the title they first won in 2015.

Saturday’s win over the Lady Black Cats on a wet night at Kingsmeadow put them six points clear of City, whose defeat at Arsenal was their second in a row since going above Chelsea on goal difference on 3 May.

Kirby somewhat fortuitously opened the scoring when her shot was deflected and looped over keeper Rachael Laws.

Midfielder Katie Chapman, who was playing in her final home game for the club before retiring this summer, was unlucky not to score when she struck the inside of the post from long range.

Aluko doubled the hosts’ lead with a first-time finish after the break, before a late scare from the visitors, but Chelsea held on.

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