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Chelsea retained their Women’s Super League title as Fran Kirby scored twice in their ruthless victory over Reading.

Knowing a final-day win would crown them champions, Melanie Leupolz put the hosts ahead with a half-volley from a low corner after just 68 seconds.

Kirby guided a second into the top corner and again linked up with Sam Kerr to power home after the interval.

Golden boot winner Kerr volleyed past Grace Moloney from Kirby’s lofted pass and Erin Cuthbert bundled in a fifth.

Second-placed Manchester City won at West Ham to finish two points behind as runners-up, but needed Chelsea to slip up to have a chance of snatching top spot.

England’s record appearance holder Fara Williams captained Reading in her final game before retiring as the Royals finish the season seventh.

Emma Hayes’ side have already won the League Cup this season and clinching a fourth WSL title moves the Blues a step closer to a historic quadruple.

They face Barcelona in the Women’s Champions League final next Sunday, and have a last-16 Women’s FA Cup tie against Everton to come on 20 May.

Leupolz’s neat opener, which went through Royals keeper Moloney, was the fastest WSL goal of the season though Chelsea were not at their swashbuckling best in the first half at Kingsmeadow and had to be patient until England forward Kirby’s sidefooted finish after a one-two with Kerr.

Williams was denied a farewell goal against her old club by the alert Ann-Katrin Berger and once Kirby scored her second before the hour mark, Hayes took off Ji So-yun, Pernille Harder and Niamh Charles with an eye on next weekend’s European final in Gothenburg.

Kerr’s goal made her just the second woman to pass 20 goals in a WSL season – after Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema in 2018-19 – while substitute Cuthbert put the icing on the Chelsea cake late on.

Line-ups

Chelsea Women

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 30Berger
  • 21CharlesSubstituted forAnderssonat 58′minutes
  • 4Bright
  • 16Eriksson
  • 7CarterSubstituted forBlundellat 69′minutes
  • 8LeupolzSubstituted forFlemingat 69′minutes
  • 5Ingle
  • 14Kirby
  • 23HarderSubstituted forCuthbertat 58′minutes
  • 10JiSubstituted forReitenat 58′minutes
  • 20Kerr

Substitutes

  • 1Musovic
  • 3Blundell
  • 9England
  • 11Reiten
  • 17Fleming
  • 22Cuthbert
  • 24Spence
  • 25Andersson
  • 28Telford

Reading Women

Formation 4-5-1

  • 1Moloney
  • 2Leine
  • 14Cooper
  • 5Bartrip
  • 31RobertsSubstituted forEikelandat 78′minutes
  • 11Harding
  • 4Williams
  • 23Rowe
  • 6James
  • 18Carter
  • 36HarriesSubstituted forChaplenat 45′minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Jeon
  • 9Eikeland
  • 16Nayler
  • 19Chaplen
  • 24Flores
  • 32Childerhouse

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Source link BBC NEWS UK

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