Chelsea registered their first points of the Women’s Super League season as Fran Kirby’s finish and a Maren Mjelde penalty saw the defending champions defeat Manchester City 2-0 at Kingsmeadow.
Kirby struck the opener in the 42nd minute and Mjelde added a spot-kick with 12 minutes of normal time remaining as Emma Hayes’ side bounced back from the shock 2-1 loss at Liverpool in their campaign opener last Sunday.
Gareth Taylor’s City created a number of chances, particularly in the first half, which included a Laura Coombs shot that Ann-Katrin Berger did superbly to divert against a post, but they were unable to save themselves from another loss following last weekend’s 4-3 reverse at Aston Villa.
After Chelsea threatened in the first few seconds of the contest, with Sam Kerr shooting wide, City exerted the greater pressure for much of the opening 45 minutes.
Chloe Kelly saw an attempt held by Berger – back in action for the first time since last month confirming a recurrence of thyroid cancer – and Khadija Shaw sent two efforts over the bar.
Berger subsequently palmed behind when Lauren Hemp tried to beat her at the near post in the 35th minute, before dealing with a deflected effort by Deyna Castellanos.
It was Chelsea who then grabbed the lead late in the half as Guro Reiten knocked the ball across the box to Kirby and the England playmaker, with Lionesses boss Sarina Wiegman watching on from the stands, side-footed home.
Moments later Berger pulled off a fine stop as her leg sent Coombs’ shot against the post.
And as City then pushed again early in the second half, Laia Aleixandri flicked wide from a corner and Coombs had another shot saved by Berger.
But the visitors struggled to create much thereafter, while Chelsea sought a second goal with Lauren James curling one shot wide and having another saved by Ellie Roebuck, and Kirby firing over.
Hayes’ team were then awarded a penalty when substitute Sophie Ingle’s strike hit the arm of Leila Ouahabi, and defender Mjelde calmly converted past Roebuck from 12 yards.
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