Leupolz brace sinks Spurs as Chelsea hammer derby rivals 4-0 to stay top of the WSL
By Paul Lagan at Kingsmeadow Stadium
Chelsea 4 v Spurs 0
Chelsea cruised to an emphatic 4-0 win over Spurs at Kingsmeadow to stay top of the WSL - but had their north London rivals taken some of their early chances, the game could have ended slightly different.
A first half wonder strike from German Melanie Leupolz settled the Blues’ nerves and two minutes later the game was effectively over as Pernille Harder doubled the lead.
A powerful header from Sam Kerr and a confident spot kick from Leupolz give the game a realistic result but bodes well for Spurs as they seek to move up the table.
Spurs started off confidently, passing the ball, crisply and first time, but the first effort fell to the home side with Fran Kirby, and Guro Reiten combing well to feed in-running Sam Kerr. The Australia striker tried a side-footer, but was well wide of Aurora Mikalsen’s goal.
Spurs responded well and Kerys Harrop was unlucky on 14 minutes to see her angled left-footer go inches wide. This was quickly followed by a left-footed thunderbolt by Ria Percival which crashed off Ann-Karin Berger’s left post.
Berger then produced a fine save to thwart Kit Graham on 19 minutes.
A dispossession in midfielder set up Pernille Harder on 24 minutes but the attacker’s shot, while on target, did not pose Mikalsen and problems.
But within a two-minute spell the home side took a 2-0 lead. Firstly Melanie Leupolz produced a thunderbolt from 25 yards out that zipped past a prone Mikalsen and nestled in the bottom corner of the net, and then Harder finished off a move inspired by Kirby. the ball looked to take a deflection before slipping past the goalkeeper.
Goal number three came on 38 minutes when Ji fed Harder on the left and the striker produced a wonderful left-footed cross to Kerr, who powerfully headed home past Mikalsen.
Emma Hayes replaced Maren Mjelde at half time for Hannah Blundell, with Spurs taking off Graham, replacing her with Josie Green.
Harder was unlucky not to score on 54 minutes when she let fly with a wonderful volley from a Guro Reiten corner. But the goal-bound blaster was deflected from the top of the net by the head of Shelina Zadorsky.
Beth England and Jessie Fleming came on for Kerr and Kirby.
Harder and Bright were next to be given a rest as they were replaced by Drew Spence and Sophie Ingle on 77 minutes.
Number four north the west Londoners saw Leupolz score her second on 63 minutes from the penalty spot after Zadorsky handled the ball in the area.
Chelsea ran the game down effectively, they get. Couple more chances to Ed to the score, but a combination of wasteful finishing and Mikalsen shot stopping prevented that.
The Blues face West Ham in the semi-final of the Conti Cup on Wednesday at Kingsmeadow.
Chelsea , Berger, Bright, Leupolz, Ji, Reiten, Kirby, Eriksson, Mjelde, Kerr, Harder, Andersson
Subs: Telford, Blundell, Ingle, England, Fleming, Spence, Fox , Berger-Jones
Spurs: Mikalsen, Neville, Zadorsky, Harrow, Davison, Percival, Addison, Graham, Naz, Kennedy, McManus
subs, Green Filey, Dean, So-Hyundai, Quinn, Ayane, Martin, E. Morgan