LONDON (AP) — A world record crowd of 77,390 watched Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0 in the Women’s FA Cup final at Wembley on Sunday.
Sam Kerr’s 68th-minute strike proved decisive as Chelsea won the trophy for the third straight year to remain in contention for a league and cup double.
The sold-out final smashed the previous record attendance for a women’s domestic club match, when Atletico Madrid hosted Barcelona in front of 60,739 people in 2019.
Chelsea is second in the Women’s Super League, a point behind leader United, but with a game in hand. And while victory secured the FA Cup, it could also have given Emma Hayes’ team a psychological advantage in the closing stages of the title race.
“It’s one piece of the jigsaw. I want more, this isn’t enough,” Chelsea midfielder Erin Cuthbert said. “We want to go for the league now. We can only control the controllables.”
It might have been a different story had Leah Galton’s strike in the opening minute not been ruled out for offside as United got off to a flying start. But United could not take advantage, with the score 0-0 at halftime and Kerr finding the winner after the break.
“We switch off in one moment, there’s space to Sam (Kerr) to run in to which we haven’t given her all game,” United manager Marc Skinner said. “I’m proud of the girls today, they are hungry. Their (Chelsea’s) position is what we want to take. We are a young, hungry team. I need to find the pieces to make sure we challenge all the time.
“Chelsea have done hardly anything in the game, but they are winners for a reason, they find that tiny little gap.”
As well as winning three FA Cups in a row, Chelsea has also won back-to-back league titles in the past two seasons.
Hayes said her team’s trophy-winning knowhow was the difference.
“We had to kick each other at halftime,” she said. “We know how to stay in a game and even if we weren’t at our best we have to work out how to change it. We had to possess the ball better and then find the quality in the final third.”
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