Despite a spirited performance from Real Madrid, Chelsea Women maintained their 100 per cent record in this season’s Champions League group. The London side are five points clear at the top of the group. And with two games to go, Chelsea will be on course for a place in the quarter-finals.
The first half saw Chelsea dominate the play, though they were rarely tested. The visitors defended deep and rarely created a clear-cut chance. But a good penalty shout from Kirby, 20 minutes into the game, was the best chance the home side had had so far. It was followed by a dipping cross from Erin Cuthbert with 15 minutes to go. It looked like a cross to keeper Misa Rodriguez, but the ball looped over her and into the net.
Real Madrid did not have a clear-cut chance in the first half, but they kept Chelsea at bay. The biggest threat came from Kenti Robles, who got forward frequently. But Chelsea keeper Ann-Katrin Berger rarely tested her.
Chelsea began to look more dangerous in the second half. They created a few gilt-edged chances, including an effort from Niamh Charles Real Madrid that drew a save from Misa Rodriguez. And they also showed a willingness to attack. They were rewarded for their effort with a goal. And despite losing out on the final goal, they were deserved winners.
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Chelsea Women did not concede a goal until the 73rd minute. But the goal came from a set piece. Ingle headed home a corner from close range. It was a good effort, but not a great goal.
Real Madrid came out in the second half in search of an equaliser. They had not lost a game in this season’s Champions League group, but they did lose to Barcelona in the quarter-finals last season. And with three of the four teams in the group in the bottom half of the table, the Spaniards will have to show more urgency in the return leg.
The second half was much more open. Real Madrid came close to scoring several times, but Chelsea kept their clean sheet. And they were rewarded with a goal in the 67th minute. Millie Bright flicked a corner on to Ingle. She then headed home the ball from the near post. Ingle’s goal was the first in a game that featured four goals.
Niamh Charles also came close to doubling Chelsea’s lead. But she missed a golden chance to add a second goal in the 79th minute. And Kenti Robles also saw a chance to score come and go. The home side also saw some decent saves from Berger, who made a stretch save to deny a shot from Zornoza.
The final goal of the night came from the strikers, who teamed up. The duo whipped crosses for each other. Cuthbert took up a long throw from Ingle and headed over the top of the keeper. Ingle then flicked the ball on to Millie Bright, who nodded the ball into the net.
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