Matildas star and Chelsea striker Sam Kerr has been involved in a bizarre incident during her team’s Champions League clash against Juventus on Thursday morning.
The Australian women’s soccer captain was captured bumping a pitch invader who ran onto the field in the dying moments of the quarter-final match at Kingsmeadow.
The young man reportedly ran onto the field to get a selfie with teammate Magda Eriksson when Kerr intervened, shoulder tackling him to the ground.
The fan was seen capturing a photo with a few players and running aimlessly around the field while fans booed and swore.
As the man roamed the pitch, Kerr could be seen intently following the invader, before charging him as he took a photograph, to raucous applause.
Kerr received a yellow card for her actions during the 88th minute. But she was hailed online by fans for her actions, endearing herself to Australians watching on from home.
The local crowd booed referee Sara Persson for her decision to book the Aussie for the bump on the invading supporter.
“Go on Sam Kerr. Worth the card. Sorry not sorry,” one supporter tweeted.
“Sam Kerr, next Australian of the Year,” another said.
The incident also sparked memories in Australians of cricketer Andrew Symonds’ famous hip-and-shoulder of a streaker at the Gabba in 2008.
Chelsea coach Emma Hayes supported Kerr’s actions after the match, which ended a 0-0 draw.
“When someone runs on the pitch…understandably players are thinking about their welfare,” she said.
The decision for the referee to book Kerr for flattening the pitch invader also sparked controversy online, with football journalists and pundits questioning why it was deserved.
English sports journalist Molly Hudson who attended the match tweeted: “I have never seen that at a women’s game … Pitch invader, Sam Kerr pushes him over and gets a yellow card. Bizarre.”