Ji So-Yun breaks Arsenal hearts to score last minute victory over Chelsea

Chelsea boss Emma Hayes was left beaming at the final whistle after seeing her side claim a crucial last-gasp win against London rivals Arsenal.

Ji So-Yun won the game for Chelsea with a goal two minutes from time to break Arsenal hearts and ensure her team remain in pole position.

Goals from Arsenal’s Danielle Carter and Leah Williamson; either side of Yuki Ogimi’s penalty and Jackie Groenen’s strike, as well as Casey Stoney’s missed penalty, marked a frantic opening 30 minutes, before Yun won the match late on.

“I wanted to manage the game in the last seven minutes; I felt a point away from home would be good as we’d never won at Boreham Wood,” she said.

“But to win tonight makes things even harder for those around us. We’ve played a fantastic Arsenal team tonight, who perhaps don’t feel they deserve to be on the losing side.

“But that’s the difference between championships – with players like Ji So-Yun, who wasn’t at her best tonight, a moment’s quality from her was all the difference when we least expected it.

“I think everybody would call us favourites. But as far as I’m concerned it’s still in Birmingham’s hands.

“I’ll know at the end of the season, I jumped on my assistant Paul at the end. It was a passionate game, it was full of a lot of intense moments from both teams, but it was also littered with a lot of mistakes and that’s because there was a lot at stake.

“A lot of young players that are not accustomed to competing for titles, so mistakes happened, but credit to their character because that comes through in games like this, so I’m proud of them for that, and we got a little bit of luck tonight.”

Carter, latching onto a rebounding ball after Gilly Flaherty’s crunching tackle on the edge of the box, finished calmly beyond Marie Hourihan after just ten minutes, to break the deadlock for the hosts.

Then Stoney, in front of Mark Sampson, who hours earlier had dropped the former skipper from his England squad for their next World Cup qualifier, skewed her spot kick over the bar.

Chelsea then won a penalty as Alex Scott was adjudged to have handled on the line from Ogimi’s shot after a scramble in the area. Ogimi slotted it, bottom left.

Just minutes later the Blues were ahead as Groenen finished from Ana Borges’ measured cut back down the right wing after a sweeping switch-pass from Katie Chapman.

Williamson levelled the sides again as she latched onto a loose back pass from left back Hannah Blundell and sent a stunning chip into the top corner.

And then late on So-Yun capitalised on a poor clearance from Gunners keeper Byrne, which allowed the midfielder to steal the points with a cool finish in the bottom left corner.

Arsenal’s Kelly Smith said: “It’s disappointing; I think we did enough on the night to get a point out of the game. Credit to Chelsea, they’ve come here and ground out a result.

“We’ve got an opportunity next week to turn it around and build the morale back up, and get ourselves in the final.

“We’re a team that likes to possess the ball, so we’re not going to boot it long. So we’re not going to hold Emma Byrne responsible for that, we win as a team, and lose as a team, we’re a little bit disappointed to not come away with any points tonight.

“Our start to the season wasn’t ideal but we knew it would be tough, but we’ve gelled after the break and really come on strong.

“We’ve shown that strength in character and playing attractive football, we’ve got a few youngsters in the side that is here to play for the red shirt.”

Image courtesy of BBC via YouTube, with thanks

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