Chicago Red Stars fend off late comeback from Sky Blue FC to reach NWSL Challenge Cup final

Red Stars will face Houston Dash in the final
Red Stars will face Houston Dash in the final (SIPA USA/PA Images)
9:47am, Thu 23 Jul 2020
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Chicago Red Stars survived a late comeback from Sky Blue FC to claim a 3-2 victory and claim their spot in the National Women’s Soccer League Challenge Cup final.

It was all about Red Stars in the first half as they came out firing, dominating in attack.

And it didn’t take them long to get the breakthrough - just seven minutes had  gone when they went ahead through Bianca St Georges. 

She got herself into the box and did well to retain possession, before sliding the ball past Kailen Sheridan.

And they were just getting started as Rachel Hill scored the second three minutes later. 

Kealia Watt crossed the ball into the box which was initially blocked by Blue’s defence. The rebound found its way to Hill who slotted home.

Sky Blue also had their chances in the first half and their best came in the 20th minute as Paige Monaghan got a shot away but it hit the crossbar. 

Red Star picked up the second half where they left off. In the 59th minute Savannah McCaskill putthem 3-0 ahead with a powerful finish after St Georges found her on the edge of the box. 

Many fans may have thought this is where the game ended but Blue had other ideas.

The comeback began in the 71st minute through Evelyn Viens as she headed home from a corner.

Then just five minutes later Red Stars captain Julie Ertz scored an own goal to set up a thrilling finish.

Blue’s Midge Purce crossed into the box and Ertz’s miscued clearance found its way into the net.

Blue had 13 minutes to send the match to penalties but could not convert their chances and so Red Stars claimed the win and the spot in the final.

They will be playing Houston Dash in that Championship game after they beat Portland Thorns FC 1-0 in their semi.

The final is on July 26 and it will kick off at 10.30am MDT / 5.30pm BST.

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