Chelsea Women restored their three-point lead as they produced one of the high-scoring football results of the weekend in the Women’s Super League. The Blues were dominant in the first half despite the subzero conditions and snowfall, as Fran Kirby earned them a contentious lead after Johanna Rytting Kaneryd was flagged for offside in the build-up. Jelena Cankovic scored twice in four minutes with a neat finish and then a glancing header for Chelsea, whose lineup contained six changes from the one that started the Champions League game at Real Madrid on Thursday. Chelsea quickly raced through the gears to be in complete control at the half.
After Chelsea’s 4-1 victory over Aston Villa earlier on Sunday afternoon, Arsenal and Chelsea were tied on points, but the Blues soon found a way to regain the lead. Reading stopped paying attention as Cankovic quickly took a free kick, sneaking in the offside Rytting Kaneryd, and she squared for Kirby to score from close range. As the officials’ half started to fall apart, Reading was enraged. When the ball rebounded off the left post following Rytting Kaneryd’s effort, Cankovic scored again by seizing an errant touch from Gemma Evans inside the area.
Chelsea was in full swing when they scored their third goal. Kirby fed the overlapping Erin Cuthbert, who expertly crossed into Cankovic’s head and steered home via a post. Just two minutes before Reading was given a chance to come back, Cankovic sidefooted wide when she might have had a hat-trick in the second half. After slipping past Magdalena Eriksson in the box, Troelsgaard fired a low shot that, surprisingly, crawled beneath Ann-Katrin Berger’s body. Emma Harries’s run down the Chelsea left before drawing back for Eikeland on Reading’s subsequent attempt brought them within one goal of mounting an incredible comeback.
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