A top striker for Chelsea Women knocked a man to the ground after he ran onto the pitch in search of a selfie during a Women’s Champions League match.
Australia captain Sam Kerr, a Ballon d’Or contender this year and the US National Women’s Soccer League all-time top scorer, was playing for the Blues against Juventus in the Women’s Champions League when a male fan left his seat and stormed the Kingsmeadow pitch.
Showing the kind of instinct that led her to becoming the only female footballer to win the Golden Boot in three different leagues on three different continents, the 28-year-old stopped the encroacher from further disrupting play.
The young man in question’s main aim seemed to be grabbing a selfie with Kerr’s teammate, Magdalena Eriksson.
Warning: video contains swearing
— Bradley Cox (@Bcoxy2012) December 8, 2021
Amid booing from the crowd, he remained on the turf far longer than neccessary, causing fans to grow restless in a farcical interlude.
Videos of the altercation show supporters jeering at the man and swearing at him.
Kerr quickly lifted their spirits by shoulder-checking him to the ground to widespread approval, which also earned her praise from manager Emma Hayes despite the recent FA Cup final scorer confusingly getting booked by the referee.
“He could have waited until the end to have a photograph if he really wanted one. But jokes aside, we do have to think about player safety,” said Hayes.
Sam Kerr has dropped the shoulder, flooring a pitch invader during Chelsea's UCL match! pic.twitter.com/Z48HmRLNWm
— ESPN Australia & NZ (@ESPNAusNZ) December 8, 2021
“We’ve seen with the growth of the game, there is this sense of the players being more in demand.
“It should serve as a reminder to us all, in our stadiums and with our stewards, that we’ve got to put player protection first.”
Down Under, a Sydney Morning Herald reporter said that it was “hard to think of a way Sam Kerr could finish this week that would endear her to Australian fans even more, beyond what she’s achieved on the field”.
“This was the only way,” he added.
Commenting from the Gabba in Brisbane, where Australia are playing England in The Ashes first test, Aussie cricket legend Andrew Symonds was asked about the incident, which reminded sports fans of how he similarly took out a streaker in 2008 when facing India in a one day international.
“We’re obviously bred pretty tough here in Australia and don’t take backwards steps. Sammy obviously took things into her own hands when security couldn’t catch the bloke, so good for her,” said the former all-rounder.
“She’s an icon and obviously knows how to handle herself. I’d like to buy her a beer and chat about it.”
Andrew Symonds completely bodied a streaker and became a folk hero, what’s with this yellow card bullshit pic.twitter.com/q1WPFFtDRo
— Ben (@hayesy316) December 8, 2021
The goalless draw denied Chelsea qualification to the quarter-finals with a group game to spare and was the first time they had failed to score this season.
Despite the shut-out, Kerr is the second-top scorer in the competition courtesy of four goals in five appearances in the current campaign.
Chelsea remain three points clear of nearest rivals Juve and Wolfsburg. Hayes’ side are guaranteed to reach the knockout stage if they avoid defeat when they visit the German on 16 December.