Ajax 0-3 Chelsea: Nüsken bags brace as Chelsea cruise to victory in Amsterdam

A record crowd of 35,991 flooded through the turnstiles of the Johan Cruijff Arena on Tuesday to celebrate Ajax Vrouwen’s debut appearance in a UEFA Women’s Champions League quarterfinal – but it would be no easy task for the Godendochters, with their opponents coming in the form of a formidable Chelsea side.

AJA: van Eijk; de Klonia, de Sanders, Kardinaal, Keijzer; Yohannes, van Gool, Noordam; T Hoekstra, Leuchter, Grant

CHE: Hampton; Charles, Buchanan, Carter, Périsset; Cuthbert, Leupolz, Nüsken; Reiten, James, Kaneryd

With confidence high after roaring to a 3-1 victory over Arsenal on Friday, Chelsea were quickly dealt a reality check in Amsterdam. Chasity Grant’s ball to Romée Leuchter looked to be a dangerous one, with the Dutch forward beating Hannah Hampton but ultimately watching in despair as her effort crashed against the woodwork.

But the tide would turn before the quarter-hour mark, with 16-year-old Lily Yohannes accumulating another yellow card, thus ruling her out of the second leg at Stamford Bridge next Wednesday.

Bad would turn to worse for Ajax Vrouwen with 19 minutes on the clock, as Lauren James capitalised on unlucky deflections off Kay de Sanders and Daliyah de Klonia to bury a Sjoeke Nüsken through ball past Regina van Eijk. The on-field referee initially denied the goal for offside, though a lengthy VAR review allowed James to wheel away in celebration.

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After a shaky moment in the opening stages, Hampton looked to be tested once again as she was pressed by Leuchter inside the box – but as her clearance fell straight to the feet of Yohannes, the teenager was only able to blaze her strike over the bar.

Chelsea prompted another lengthy VAR review before the break, as Guro Reiten smashed home a James cross from the left flank. It would be disallowed though, with a pitchside review seemingly identifying interference from the offside Nüsken.

The Blues would double their lead before the break nonetheless, with Reiten and Nüsken combining legally this time. The Norwegian’s delivery from the left was slotted home by Nüsken, whose fine form on Friday appeared to be continuing into another dominant performance on the continent.

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A quieter second half presented chances for the Blues to run rampant and extend their comfortable advantage, and that they did with 7 minutes remaining. As she had done just days ago in London, Nüsken completed her brace as she powered a header past van Eijk from a Catarina Macário delivery.

Chelsea have one foot in the semifinal already, and will feel confident of confirming their progression when they host Ajax Vrouwen in the second leg next Wednesday. The Godendochters will be without Lily Yohannes for that clash, after the midfielder picked up a yellow card in the first half.