Chelsea through to Champions League quarter-finals

24 January 2024 0 By Total Football News

Chelsea celebrate going 2-1 up against Real MadridChelsea drew 2-2 in Madrid in November after some controversial refereeing decisions went against the Blues

Chelsea are through to the quarter-finals of the Women’s Champions League as group winners after grinding out a 2-1 victory over Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge.

Emma Hayes’ side were largely frustrated but eventually wrapped up the win during a topsy-turvy eight-minute spell which saw three goals, including an equaliser from Real.

Guro Reiten put Chelsea ahead from the penalty spot when Niamh Charles was brought down by former Manchester City winger Hayley Raso.

Real responded immediately when Raso’s strike, saved by Hannah Hampton, rebounded straight to Athenea del Castillo to poke in from close range.

But a minute later, Chelsea’s lead was restored when Erin Cuthbert’s cutback was deflected in off goalkeeper Mylene Chavas.

An earlier goalless draw between BK Hacken and Paris FC meant Chelsea knew they would confirm their place in the quarter-finals as group winners if they beat Real Madrid on a chilly night in west London.

Last season’s semi-finalists are aiming to win the European title for the first time in Hayes’ final season with the club and they go through with a game to spare in the group stage.

Chelsea get job done with a game to spare

Hayes said this week it would not be an easy task against Real and her side would know given they were held to a 2-2 draw in Spain in November as a controversial penalty call and a disallowed goal went in the hosts’ favour.

But a lot of the Blues’ frustration on Wednesday was of their own making in London as a lack of ruthlessness forced them to grind out a result rather than win in style.

That is not a criticism of Chelsea however, as they have proven time and time again that they know what it takes to get the job done, even when not at their flowing best.

Hayes described it as a “boring” game afterwards and pointed to Chelsea’s gruelling schedule as one of the reasons behind a “flat” display.

“It doesn’t feel like we want to help the English teams progress. That was a tough game at the weekend [against Manchester United],” said Hayes.

“Our league is tough so when you’re playing a game like you do against United, then one recovery day, a training session, then playing a game, it’s tough. We have four games in nine days.

“We have to accept that. You have to preserve your legs and not attack in every moment. They are all the game-managing pieces you have to have.”

They created chances in the first half and exploited space in behind and out wide, particularly through the movement of Reiten on the left and Cuthbert in the middle.

Real grew into the game though and started to build some pressure, using the pace of Raso and the skill of Linda Caicedo to break Chelsea down.

The visitors were perhaps unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty when Caicedo was on the receiving end of a heavy challenge by Kadeisha Buchanan in the box and Jess Carter accidentally stood on her in a resulting scramble.

Caicedo, Real Madrid’s star player, went off at half-time shortly afterwards and though they were able to get a goal back in the second half, they lacked the same threat they had carried in the first half.

Real Madrid manager Alberto Toril said afterwards: “It was a small injury. We have many games ahead so there was no need to risk it. I’m not sure if it was a penalty or not. It was too far away.”

Chelsea’s celebrations were fairly subdued at full-time as this was the bare minimum expectation for them and they have ambitions of going all the way in Europe this season, even without injured striker Sam Kerr and centre-back Millie Bright.

Line-ups

Chelsea Women

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 24Hampton
  • 12Lawrence
  • 26Buchanan
  • 7Carter
  • 21Charles
  • 8Leupolz
  • 22Cuthbert
  • 19Rytting KanerydSubstituted forBeever-Jonesat 76′minutes
  • 14KirbySubstituted forNüskenat 76′minutes
  • 11Reiten
  • 2FishelSubstituted forJamesat 45′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Musovic
  • 5Ingle
  • 6Nüsken
  • 10James
  • 15Périsset
  • 18Mjelde
  • 28Cankovic
  • 33Beever-Jones

Real Madrid Femenino

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 13Chavas
  • 2RoblesSubstituted forRodríguezat 86′minutes
  • 5Andrés
  • 14Sousa Feitoza
  • 23Svava
  • 3AbelleiraSubstituted forOlofssonat 70′minutes
  • 21Zornoza
  • 15Raso
  • 18CaicedoSubstituted fordel Castilloat 45′minutes
  • 8OrozSubstituted forHernándezat 86′minutes
  • 16MøllerSubstituted forFellerat 70′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Rodríguez Rivero
  • 11Hernández
  • 20Feller
  • 22del Castillo
  • 24Olofsson
  • 27Rodríguez
  • 28López
  • 41Alonso
  • 48Comendador
Referee:
Catarina Isabel Ferreira Campos

Match Stats

Live Text

Match ends, Chelsea Women 2, Real Madrid Femenino 1.

Second Half ends, Chelsea Women 2, Real Madrid Femenino 1.