It wasn’t nearly as dramatic as the first leg, but that’s a good thing, as Chelsea held Atlético Madrid to a 1-1 draw in Monza, Italy, where the away leg of our Women’s Champions League Round of 16 was being played due to Spain’s COVID-19 travel restrictions.
The Blues held a 2-0 advantage from the first leg, which was one of the more remarkable Champions League nights ever seen in London, and manager Emma Hayes saw no reason to change that winning lineup beyond the one that she was forced to make: Niamh Charles coming in for the suspended makeshift center back Sophie Ingle, with captain Maren Mjelde deployed instead in the center and Charles taking up the spot at right back.
Playing with eleven players for the entirety of this match, Chelsea were able to largely control proceedings and never quite look that bothered. Even when Atléti won yet another spot kick, with about 15 minutes left and their third in the tie overall, Chelsea remained unscathed. Having failed to convert twice in the first leg, with Berger saving both times, this time it was the crossbar that came to Chelsea’s rescue as ex-Manchester City winger Toni Duggan rattled one off the woodwork after Charles handled in the area.
Not a minute later, Chelsea had a penalty kick of our own, and just like in the first leg, Mjelde made no mistake. With a 3-0 aggregate lead at that point, the tie was truly done and dusted. Atléti’s late goal finally got them on the board, but was nothing more than scant consolation after 180 minutes against a Chelsea side who look determined for all-time greatness.
The only bad news for the Blues was an injury picked up by Bethany England just before half-time.
The draw for the quarterfinals will be held on Friday, as the cream of the crop of European women’s football await.