Sam Kerr scored a stoppage-time winner as Chelsea beat Aston Villa to boost their Women’s Super League title hopes in their first home game since owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government.
Kerr pounced on a long pass from keeper Zecira Musovic in the 92nd minute and poked the ball home, an outcome that was cruel on a resolute Villa side.
The Blues’ Russian owner Abramovich has had his assets frozen following his country’s invasion of Ukraine and his sale of Chelsea has been halted.
The sanctions also meant that only supporters who had bought season tickets or individual match tickets before 10 March were able to attend the match at Kingsmeadow.
Against a dogged Villa defence, the reigning WSL champions created plenty of chances but lacked a clinical edge in front of goal.
Kerr, who had many of Chelsea’s better opportunities, thought she had broken the deadlock in the 81st minute, only for her strike to be disallowed for offside.
But the Australian forward’s late winner meant Chelsea keep the title race in their own hands, going two points behind leaders Arsenal having played one game fewer. They also avoided failing to score in consecutive home WSL games for the first time since May 2014.
They could return to the summit if they win their game in hand against Everton on Wednesday and Arsenal fail to beat Brighton on Sunday night.
Aston Villa stay 10th, 11 points clear of bottom club and local rivals Birmingham City. They host Reading in their next match on Saturday 26 March.