Chelsea 2-1 Real Madrid: The Blues are UWCL quarter-finalists

Chelsea hosted Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening in the Women’s Champions League. Las Blancas were yet to win a game in the competition so far, but had successfully held Chelsea to a 2-2 draw in their opening match. A win for the Blues would see them finish at the top of Group D, and would guarantee them a home second leg in their first knockout tie.

CHE: Hampton; Lawrence, Buchanan, Carter, Charles; Cuthbert, Leupolz; Kaneryd, Kirby, Reiten; Fishel

RMA: Chavas; Robles, Andres, Sousa, Svava; Abelleira, Zornoza; Raso, Caicedo, Oroz; Hansen

Real Madrid were coming into the game knowing they couldn’t qualify for the next round, whilst Chelsea were looking to top the group.

Jess Carter, having started every game for Chelsea in their Champions League campaign this season, was in the back four alongside centre-back partner Kadeisha Buchanan, with Hannah Hampton making her Women’s Champions League debut in net for the Blues.

Chelsea started brightly as they looked to get in behind Real’s defence early, but it was Las Blancas with the first free kick of the game. Chelsea quickly regained possession and began to patiently build up their attack from the back through Hampton.

Real Madrid’s first attack came through former Manchester City winger Hayley Raso, who was free on the right to cross the ball – but she couldn’t find a player in the box to convert the chance.

Chelsea were dominating the game in the first ten minutes but Real Madrid had clearly done their research on their attacking threats and were defending well – the Blues needed to be more clinical in the final third.

Mia Fishel had a chance to open the scoring as she got on the end of a through-ball from Kirby, but Kathellen was there to dispossess her. Hayley Raso broke on the counter-attack as Chelsea lost possession, racing forwards and playing the ball to Linda Caicedo, but Hannah Hampton read the attack and came out to collect.

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Las Blancas started to see more of the ball with Linda Caicedo getting in behind the Chelsea defence, though her shot was straight into the chest of Hampton after 29 minutes.

With play back under way after Caicedo went down with what looked to be an ankle injury, Chelsea worked their way towards Real’s defence once more – with Cuthbert sending a ball through two Real Madrid defenders to find Guro Reiten who was nearly one-on-one, but the visitors cleared for a corner.

The closest chance of the game fell in favour of Chelsea in the 39th minute, with the ball spilling to Guro Reiten who pulled it back towards Cuthbert – but the midfielder was quickly swarmed by white shirts and couldn’t get a shot away in front of an open goal.

It was another chance for the Blues after 43 minutes, but the hosts weren’t clinical enough in front of goal – the ball fell to Cuthbert but her effort was comfortably collected by the Real Madrid keeper.

After one minute of added time, it was a goalless first half with Chelsea dominating and creating plenty of chances but not punishing Las Blancas who looked lively on the counter-attack.

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There were changes for both sides at the break with Athenea del Castillo replacing Linda Caicedo for Real Madrid, and Lauren James coming on for Mia Fishel for Chelsea.

James immediately tried to make an impact from the bench, playing the ball towards Johanna Rytting Kaneryd on the edge of the box, but after trying to play a one-two, the offside flag went up.

In the 54th minute, the ball fell to Fran Kirby on the edge of the box but as she looked to the slide the ball across the box, it went too far ahead of Erin Cuthbert and no Chelsea shirt could reach it.

Another Chelsea corner was defended well by Real Madrid just minutes later with another big chance for the hosts quickly following as Erin Cuthbert’s cross found Fran Kirby, who sent her header just wide of the far post.

On the hour mark, Niamh Charles was taken down in the box by Hayley Raso, with the late challenge forcing the referee to point towards the spot and awarding a penalty in the hosts’ favour. Guro Reiten stepped up to take the penalty, striking into the bottom corner with power and sending the keeper the wrong way as Chelsea took the lead at Stamford Bridge.

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The lead Chelsea were granted courtesy of a composed penalty from the Norwegian international was quickly taken from them, as Real found the equaliser at 69-minutes.

Caroline Moller sent a long ball across to Hayley Raso, with her shot from in behind the Chelsea defence initially stopped by Hannah Hampton – but the save fell straight to the feet of Athenea del Castillo, who brought the score level.

An immediate reaction from the Blues saw Erin Cuthbert fire at the goalkeeper, with Chavas pushing the ball into her own net as the hosts restored their lead at 70-minutes.

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The rest of the second half looked much like the first had, with Chelsea dominating possession and looking the more dangerous of the two sides.

Real Madrid tried to break forwards as the game entered the final ten minutes and the visitors searched for another equalising goal, but as Hayley Raso tried to create an attack, Chelsea retrieved the ball and headed up the other end of the pitch.

In the 88th minute, Chelsea took their corner short with Guro Reiten curling wide of the post from distance. Into the three minutes of additional time, Reiten tried her luck again sending a cross into the Real Madrid box, but there was nobody there to connect with it.

The final whistle blew after 94 minutes played in SW6, with Chelsea now confirmed as quarter-finalists after picking up 11 points from their first five games.