helsea manager Emma Hayes made no secret of her relief as the Women’s Super League champions secured a 2-2 draw in a pulsating clash with Manchester City, which leaves her side in control of the title race with two games left to play.
The result leaves Chelsea, who face Tottenham away and Reading at home in their final two fixtures, two points ahead of City, who host Birmingham City before travelling to relegation-threatened West Ham for their last game of the season.
Sam Kerr gave reigning champions Chelsea the lead in the 25th minute when she met Erin Cuthbert’s corner with a powerful header that defender Alex Greenwood at the near post could not keep out.
Chloe Kelly struck back quickly for City, stealing in behind the defence to stab home Lauren Hemp’s cross, but the home side’s joy was short-lived as keeper Ellie Roebuck brought down Kerr in the box and Pernille Harder scored from the spot.
With City storming forward in the second half and Chelsea dogged in defence, it took an uncharacteristic mistake from Fran Kirby and a poor clearance from Millie Bright to give the home side a chance which Hemp hammered home in the 75th minute to make it 2-2.
German keeper Ann-Katrin Berger pulled off a string of late saves, including a world-class stop from a Kelly header, to ensure that Chelsea hung on for a draw that keeps their fate in their own hands.
Speaking to BT Sport after the game, Hayes said: “If anyone thinks that’s a comfortable experience for a coach, let me tell you something: that was horrendous for 45 minutes.
“I hated every single minute of that second half. I liked the first half … I’m so relieved it’s over. It’s over, thank God!
“Is 2-2 a fair result? I don’t care where it is or it isn’t, it’s over.”
Additional reporting by Reuters.