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Kerr’s UEFA Champions League heroics cap stellar week for Asia’s stars

Budapest: Sam Kerr’s seventh goal in her last five matches helped Chelsea advance to the UEFA Women’s Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday, rounding out an outstanding week for Asian women’s stars in Europe.

Australia’s Kerr scored the second goal in a 3-0 second leg win for the English champions, for whom Korea Republic’s Ji So-yun played a late cameo role, as they romped to a 5-1 aggregate victory over 2019-2020 runners-up VfL Wolfsburg.

In addition to setting up a semi-final clash with either Bayern Munich or FC Rosengård later this month, the result was the latest success for Asia’s Europe-based contingent, who have starred in a range of competitions throughout the past week.

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Kerr’s 31st-minute strike came four minutes after Danish star Pernille Harder had opened the scoring from the penalty spot, with the Matildas captain having won the spot-kick.

Ji made her impact three minutes after being introduced, setting up Fran Kirby’s 81st-minute goal, which put the tie beyond doubt at 5-1.

Both Kerr and Ji have enjoyed outstanding recent form for the London club, with Kerr scoring and assisting in last week’s 2-1 first leg win over Wolfsburg, before netting both goals in Chelsea’s 2-0 league win against Aston Villa on Sunday.

Kerr was one of three Australian players to earn selection in the FA Women’s Super League Team of the Week, with Arsenal’s Caitlin Foord scoring in 3-0 win against Tottenham, while Hayley Raso scored a superb hat-trick as Everton beat Brighton 5-0.

Asian players also starred throughout the continent, with Japanese international forward Mina Tanaka scoring twice as Bayer Leverkusen beat Eintracht Frankfurt 3-2 in Germany’s Frauen Bundesliga, while Yui Hasegawa excelled in Italy’s Milan derby, providing an assist in AC Milan’s 4-1 triumph over Inter.

In France, 2019 AFC Women’s Player of the Year Saki Kumagai scored to cap a faultless performance as Olympique Lyonnais defeated Dijon 3-0 in a match which also featured Australia’s Ellie Carpenter.

UEFA Women’s Champions League winners for the past five seasons, the second leg of Lyon’s European quarter-final tie against Paris Saint-German was postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak among their playing staff, with the match rescheduled for April 18.

Photo: AFP

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