Chelsea beat Tottenham to take WSL fight with Man City to final day

Chelsea are taking the Women's Super League (WSL) title race down to the final game of the season after defeating local rivals Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 to return to the top of the league table.

As Emma Hayes prepares for her final game in charge of Chelsea against Manchester United on Saturday, the stakes couldn't be higher. The team is level on points with Manchester City (52), but holds a crucial advantage of two goals (+47).

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"I think we've got the tougher of the two games," Hayes said after the match. "We've got to go to Old Trafford, a fitting finale for me, for my final game. As I said to the players, if someone gives you a second chance in life, make sure you don't need a third one.

"We're in the position we want to be in and we'll give it everything on Saturday, no matter what."

Hayes, who has led the Blues for 12 years, will soon depart the club to take on the role of the new head coach of the United States women's national team.

Maika Hamano's decisive goal in the 37th minute ensured Chelsea's title race remains intact, as a loss would have made it almost impossible for Hayes to clinch the title. Guro Reiten's pinpoint cross found the 20-year-old, who slid home at the back-post, marking her second goal in a Chelsea shirt.

Chelsea had two penalty shouts denied by referee Emily Heaslip in the first half as centre-back Luana Bühler handled the ball, blocking Hamano's shot, while some chaotic defending from Spurs caused several nervy moments for the hosts.

Chelsea players celebrate after scoring a goal against Tottenham in the Women's Super League.
Chelsea players celebrate after scoring a goal against Tottenham in the Women's Super League.
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The visitors were on the front foot all evening and had multiple chances to take the lead. Unleashing well-worked team attacks, their finishing was sloppy and poorly directed until Hamano eventually broke the deadlock.

Tottenham were handed a 4-0 drubbing by Manchester United on Sunday in the FA Cup final, leaving the side likely exhausted heading into this evening's clash after a long afternoon at Wembley Stadium.

The home side was then dealt a blow when full-back Amanda Nildén, who started their FA Cup final loss, was stretchered off the pitch after injuring her ankle on the stroke of half-time.

Robert Vilahamn's side had several chances to level the scores early in the second half. Two corners were poorly dealt with by Chelsea as the hosts started the half far more composed.

At the other end, Aggie Beever-Jones, who earned her first call-up to the Lionesses squad on Monday, nearly doubled the Blues' lead with a nifty back heel, but the chance lacked power, fizzling wide of the post.

Chelsea then squandered numerous chances in the second half, leaving the side visibly frustrated at their lack of clinical finishing. This has been an issue for Chelsea all season long after their main two strikers -- Sam Kerr and Mia Fishel -- were ruled out of the season, both suffering anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries.

Hayes' side was defeated by Liverpool 4-3 two weeks ago which almost end their chance of claiming silverware this season. However, Chelsea were shown a lifeline in their hunt for a fifth consecutive WSL trophy when Arsenal defeated Manchester City last weekend.

Chelsea's 8-0 thrashing of Bristol City on May 5 was their most ruthless game yet, and they overturned their goal difference deficit to one goal of City (two after tonight's game).

Chelsea were on course for a quadruple, but after a dismal run of form, they now only have one shot at sending Hayes into her new job with a trophy. They must defeat United at Old Trafford on Saturday to claim the title and hope Manchester City do not better their goal difference in a win over Aston Villa.