With BK Häcken and Paris FC reaching a goalless draw in the other match of our UEFA Women’s Champions League group, Chelsea Women could lock down a knockout stage spot by beating Real Madrid today at Stamford Bridge. Since the Spanish team had nothing to fight for but their honour, they would certainly try to stop us from doing so.
That combined with our inability to bury a fair share of good chances we created, as well as good work from goalkeeper Mylène Chavas, made it for a very frustrating first half for our objectives. At the other end Madrid had a couple of tricky shots that forced Hannah Hampton to intervene.
At halftime Lauren James was brought to the fold in place of Mia Fishel. With Fran Kirby playing as centre-forward, the change did bring more volume of play to the attack. So much so that in one of those forays, we got a penalty kick that was successfully converted by Guro Reiten.
Goal: Guro Reiten | Chelsea FC W 1-0 Real Madrid Wpic.twitter.com/mtvdHGxraa— FootColic ⚽️ (@FootColic) January 24, 2024
But again, Madrid were not at the Bridge to make things easy for us. Poor defending on our side allowed Madrid to easily enter the box from the right side and then get a lethal shot right in front of goal by Athenea del Castillo, which neither Jess Carter nor Hannah could do anything to stop.
Doom and gloom could have quickly set in. But since Chelsea Women are made of strong material, we would quickly get back in the lead after Mylène Chavas completely fumbled Erin Cuthbert’s cross/shot at goal.
Goal: Mylène Chavas (OG) | Chelsea FC W 2-1 Real Madrid Wpic.twitter.com/DIXcZGkrcn— FootColic ⚽️ (@FootColic) January 24, 2024
A single goal lead is not enough for Chelsea to get comfortable this season. But with few minutes left on the clock and Madrid no longer throwing accurate punches at us, the Blues only needed to manage the match until the final whistle to confirm their place in the knockout stage of the Champions League.
- Hannah Hampton starts at goal, and midfielder Erin Cuthbert captains the Blues tonight.
- Erin’s first half was divine. Scoring a goal in the first 45 minutes of the match would be the cherry on top of a world-class performance from her.
- Looks like it’ll take a while until Mia Fishel is comfortable enough to fill in Sam Kerr’s shoes. No wonder Chelsea are close to signing Levante’s Mayra Ramírez, who should be able to share this (huge) burden with her this season and beyond.
- Can’t help but feel Guro Reiten is some way far from her absolute best post-injury. That’s still enough for her to have a solid outing against European competition.
- Erin didn’t get her second half goal, but she did help in our second goal tonight!
- Next up: Brighton away in the Women’s Super League.