A raucous atmosphere greeted the Blues in a cold night in Gothenburg. Last time we were in this city, we got humbled by Barcelona in the 2021 Champions League final. Tonight would turn out a fair bit better thankfully.
Backed by their fans, Häcken got off to an excellent start, and Chelsea were lucky to not be behind after just four minutes as Anvegård hit the crossbar when she looked odds-on to score from close range.
And that miss became even more glaring when Sam Kerr scored from a very similar position at the other end ten minutes later, turning in an excellent ball from Rytting Kaneryd, who was back in familiar surroundings having spent two years at Häcken before joining Chelsea in 2022.
Chelsea continued to find room to operate in what was a much more open game than last week, but it were the home side who would take advantage, hitting the Blues on the counter and this time making no mistake: Larisey powering an unstoppable header beyond Mušović from close range after an excellent cross from Jusu Bah.
The first half would end without any further goals, though both sides generated some decent opportunities, with Mušović needing to be alert and Rytting Kaneryd continuing to pose a threat. And Ingle nearly tucked away a shot from the top of the box just before the half, but the Häcken goalkeeper made the excellent diving save.
The second half began much the same way as the first. Häcken again hit the crossbar, once again through the unfortunate Anvegård, and the not ten minutes later, Chelsea made them pay for that wastefulness, this time with Cuthbert picking out the bottom far corner with an angled shot after Ingle passed up a shooting opportunity. Rytting Kaneryd of course involved, creating from the right initially.
And this time, Chelsea would not give up the lead. Instead, Cuthbert doubled our lead with her second of the night, our third, and while there was still about half an hour to go, the match was effectively won. Häcken nicked a late consolation in added-on time, but it was (quite incorrectly) ruled out for offside. VAR when again?
In any case, Chelsea thus move top of the group, with two games to go, both against the bottom-two sides. Looking good!
- Two changes from last week’s game, with Lawrence in for Perisset at right back and James starting ahead of Kirby in the No.10 role
- Nüsken among the subs on the hour-mark, making an impact
- Next up: winter break; back in action mid-January