Sam Kerr Lauren James Chelsea 2023-24Getty Images

Chelsea Women player ratings vs Paris FC: Sam Kerr always delivers! Lionesses star Fran Kirby sparks second-half recovery as Australian bags hat trick and Lauren James registers sumptuous assist in Champions League win

Paris FC travelled to Stamford Bridge with two Women's Champions League scalps to their name: Arsenal and Wolfsburg. Chelsea might have been added to that list had a few things gone only slightly differently on Thursday night. However, the Blues have one thing Paris' previous victims lack... the inevitable Sam Kerr.

The visitors were successfully frustrating Chelsea in the opening exchanges, and when Lauren James blazed a gilt-edged chance high and wide, they might have got the feeling that it was going to be their night. But a few moments later, James redeemed herself, providing an inch-perfect cross for Kerr to open the scoring.

Paris would get their deserved equaliser just before the break when Thea Greboval looped a header home from a corner, but the introduction of the magnificent Fran Kirby took the game away from the French side.

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A few minutes after coming on, the Lionesses icon was heavily involved in creating Kerr's second, when she threaded Johanna Rytting Kaneryrd through. And the Australian would then complete a 55-minute hat-trick when she lobbed Nigeria's World Cup hero Chiamaka Nnadozie following an Ann-Katrin Berger long ball.

Kirby should have finished with another assist, and Kerr another goal, only for Chelsea's stand-in captain to spurn a great opportunity. Paris kept plugging away and force Berger into a few good saves, but the Blues made sure of their maiden Champions League win of the season when Sophie Ingle neatly finished Eve Perisset's corner.

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