Even at home, Albanian outfit KF Vllaznia were never able to muster much resistance against the might of Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid when the two sides visited them in the Champions League group stage. Chelsea’s case would not diverge from this path, even with rain not really helping the Blues usual game plan of killing weaker opposition with high pressing and high possession.
From kick-off Chelsea never gave an inch to Vllaznia, with the goal seeming as if it would come by once the final pass connected. After many tries, it still did not. Nevertheless, the deflection was enough to set up tonight’s captain, Sophie Ingle, for the first goal of the night.
More goals would come from Chelsea in a first half where Vllaznia only left their half of the pitch a couple of times. One of their defenders committed a foul near the box and the Albanian team huddled around the referee to complain about it. In the meantime Jelena Cankovic, who showed the world why she was picked up by the Blues this summer to join the team with a two-goal performance last weekend against Reading, made out of a quick free kick an amazing assist for Fran Kirby to slot the ball into the back of the net.
With a comfortable two-goal lead in the first half, Chelsea kept pushing for more. However opposing goalkeeper Kaylin Williams-Mosier was on a good day between the posts, making clutch defences in the several occasions Vllaznia’s defence let her down.
In the second half, while Chelsea were still dominating possession, Vllaznia decided it was time to come out of their shell and attack a bit. They did get close to Zecira Musovic’s goal a couple of times, but never did anything as menacing as the Blues’ in the entire game.
And the Blues could have certainly scored as many goals as they did against Vllaznia nearly two months ago — two of which via Sam Kerr, first missing a very easy chance in front of the goal, and then having a score deemed offside. But despite the best efforts of Williams-Mosier to keep us with two goals in the match, Katerina Svitkova found a third with a header; and then a fourth via Maren Mjelde spot kick, right before the final whistle.
- Jelena Cankovic gets her second consecutive start for Chelsea, certainly a reward for the two goals she scored in our 3-2 win over Reading last weekend. Otherwise there is plenty of rotation in this Blues squad, from Zecira Musovic starting at goalkeeper to Sam Kerr leading the attacking line in place of Beth England.
- Also notable is Sophie Ingle taking the captain bracelet from Magda Eriksson, who is a bench option today for manager Emma Hayes.
- Subs are Katerina Svitkova for Guro Reiten, Maren Mjelde (!) for Kadeisha Buchanan, Lauren James for Sophie Ingle, Johanna Rytting Kaneryd for Fran Kirby, and Jess Carter for Niamh Charles.
- Ingle captains, Ingle scores! Nice shot to wrap up a good attacking play by the Blues.
- Starting again, Cankovic puts on another show in midfield. Of course goals are the thing that matter the most in football, and her assists to Fran Kirby and Katerina Svitkova should not go unnoticed. But she also does everything else so neatly!
- What has happened to Sam Kerr? So many misses...
- Either way, Svitkova scores a neat header in the box after a strong cameo from the bench. Another midfielder who could soon make her claim in Emma Hayes’ side.
- Through to the knockout stages, we go!
- Next up: Paris Saint-Germain at home, in our last match of the Champions League group stage.