Ji So-Yun double at Liverpool ensures Chelsea go invincible
Two late goals from Ji So-Yun sealed a 3-2 comeback for Chelsea against Liverpool on the final day
Ji So-Yun made sure League and FA Cup champions Chelsea ended their 2017-18 campaign in the perfect style, as she scored two late goals to help the Blues come from 2-0 down to win 3-2 against Liverpool.
Chelsea sealed their second WSL championship in midweek, but their unbeaten record had looked under threat after early goals from Jess Clarke and Niamh Charles.
However, an improved second half performance with goals from Eni Aluko and two for substitute So-Yun ensured all three points at Prenton Park – with Liverpool finishing in sixth.
So-Yun 80, 83
Liverpool Ladies (4-1-4-1): Siobhan Chamberlain; Satara Murray, Gemma Bonner, Amy Turner, Martha Harris; Sophie Ingle; Niamh Charles, Kate Longhurst, Caroline Weir, Alex Greenwood; Jess Clarke
Substitutes: Laura Coombs for Niamh Charles on 68, Ali Johnson for Amy Turner on 76
Substitutes Not Used: Becky Flaherty, Amy Rodgers, Rinsola Babajide
Red Cards: None
Chelsea Ladies (3-4-3): Carly Telford; Mille Bright, Maria Thorisdottir, Magdalena Eriksson; Gemma Davison, Katie Chapman, Maren Mjelde, Claire Rafferty; Erin Cuthbert, Fran Kirby, Eniola Aluko
Substitutes: Ji So-Yun for Gemma Davison on 51, Jonna Anderson for Claire Rafferty on 58
Substitutes Not Used: Hedvig Lindahl, Hannah Blundell, Ramona Bachmann, Drew Spence
Bookings: Millie Bright on 74
Red Cards: None
Referee: Matt Donohue
The hosts raced out of the blocks and into a 1-0 lead inside the first minute, as Caroline Weir’s cut back was deflected into Clarke’s path, and she fired home from close range.
Liverpool doubled their advantage seven minutes later, as Chelsea failed to clear Alex Greenwood’s cross and Charles found herself in space to slot in from 15 yards.
The Blues rallied well from Liverpool’s excellent start and Millie Bright almost pulled a goal back on 15 minutes, but her powerful header from a corner flew wide.
The second period began in scrappy fashion with the neither side able to make any attacking inroads, as Liverpool worked hard to contain Chelsea in midfield.
The champions pulled a goal back on 70 minutes, as Aluko latched onto a lofted through ball and calmly stroked home past Siobhan Chamberlain to ignite hopes for invincibility.
The cool finish was Chelsea’s 100th goal this season and Aluko’s farewell finish as she prepares to move on next season.
Then super sub So-Yun netted the equaliser ten minutes later, volleying home a spectacular effort from 18 yards.
GOAL OF THE GAME
The South Korean international So-Yun scored her second goal only three minutes after her first to complete the come back at Prenton Park in a captivating conclusion to the season.
After her stunning first, she curled home from the other side of the box for the second from an acute angle, following a clever dinked pass from Fran Kirby.
WHAT THEY SAID
Liverpool's Jess Clarke said: "Obviously the end result is disappointing. To go 2-0 up against the champions is amazing and in the second half we just looked to hold them off.
“Credit to Chelsea, there is a reason why they are champions, but I think we gave them a run for their money today. All of the girls can walk off the pitch with their heads held high and look forward to next season.
“The important thing for us now is finding that consistency. We've proved today that we can compete and moving into next season we just need to get that consistency right.
“We've shown this season that we can do it, the result today is disappointing but we can't change that.
“If we can maintain that for next season, we can be challenging at the very top."
Chelsea's Eni Aluko said: "We've come back from 2-0 already this season, so we knew we could do it. We started slowly, we looked like we were still on the bus, we had to maintain our high standards, and we did.
“Getting the first goal was very important for me, because it set the team momentum, and then Ji came on and did what she always does - produces magic.
“It was an emotional day for me, but I needed to make sure I ended on a high with my own personal performance. I was pleased with that, I worked hard to create chances for the team and myself.
“Playing with Ji and Fran helps so much, they are two of the best players I've ever played with. This team is filled with character and we make sure to set our standards high.
“We were annoyed to be down at half time, despite coming into it as champions. But that is a sign of humble team that is always pushing to win.
“We are pleased with a great season, and ending with a win today, but we want to do this again next season, and even better. It is very difficult in men's and women's football to win back to back titles, we saw that in 2016 after the 2015 double.
“The management will look to recruit in the summer to make us competitive in the league, and in Europe.
“I'm sure this team will go from strength to strength, and keep our feet on the ground.
“When you look at Lyon or Wolfsburg, they do it year on year, that is the level we need to try to get to."