Chelsea Women cruised into the Champions League semi-final on Wednesday afternoon, hammering Wolfsburg Women 3-0 on the day, and bagging a 5-1 win on aggregate.
The Blues were on the back foot in the opening 25 minutes, but they were awarded a penalty against the run of play, when Sam Kerr was fouled just inside the box, and Pernille Harder tucked away the resulting spot-kick to hand the visitors a crucial away goal.
Ewa Pajor almost levelled immediately, but her sliding effort flashed just wide of the far post. And her miss was punished on 32 minutes, when Kerr received the ball with her back to goal, swivelled and fired low into the near post to stun the hosts.
Chelsea were well in control of the tie heading into the second half, and frustrated Wolfsburg with a resolute opening 15 minutes, while looking extremely dangerous on the counter-attack. Despite the hosts’ desperate need for goals, they barely threatened the Blues’ backline, and Fran Kirby put the finishing touches on the scoreline with a nice strike when clean through on goal.
Let’s check out the player ratings from a huge afternoon of Champions League action.
Ann-Katrin Berger (GK) – 7/10 – Continued her great form by confidently plucking a couple of deep deliveries with ease early on. Later flapped at a cross, although the ball took a cruel deflection on its travels. Had surprisingly little to do in terms of shot-stopping.
Jess Carter (RB) – 8/10 – Took an early knock in a 50-50 challenge but managed to soldier on. Grew into the game, nipping in to win possession and fly up the right flank. Defended crosses towards her post with important stretching headers.
Millie Bright (CB) – 8/10 – Defended on the front foot, winning the ball aggressively from behind and carrying possession into the midfield. Bullied the Wolfsburg forwards once Chelsea got a hold of the game.
Magdalena Eriksson (CB) – 8/10 – Produced a vital goal-line clearance when Berger misread a cross. Cut out a couple of wicked deliveries into the box. Majestic and commanding display to guide Chelsea through the choppy waters at the beginning.
Jonna Andersson (LB) – 7/10 – Dealt with Huth’s trickery well, limiting Wolfsburg’s danger down that wing. Not requested to do much attacking, given Kerr’s impact on that side.
Fran Kirby (RM) – 8/10 – Recycled possession superbly for the second goal, carrying the ball and waiting for the right pass to arrive. An extremely intelligent player in possession. Picked up a yellow card just before the hour-mark. Stunning, composed finish to wrap up the scoring.
Melanie Leupolz (CM) – 7/10 – Put the covers on countless times, racing back to help out the backline. Kept the game moving and didn’t give Wolfsburg any time in possession.
Sophie Ingle (CM) – 8/10 – Dashed back to cut out a ball just inside the box. Curled a superb pass into the midriff of Kerr, who turned and fired home the second.
Erin Cuthbert (LM) – 7/10 – Lost possession in dangerous positions on a couple of occasions, but nullified Huth’s threat on that flank effectively. Looked to get the ball into Kerr as much as possible – good idea.
Pernille Harder (ST) – 8/10 – Produced the precise counter-attacking ball to release Kerr to win the penalty, and then buried the spot-kick surgically, despite the mind games of Kiedrzynek.
Sam Kerr (ST) – 9/10 – Always on the lookout to feed Kirby, and produced a brilliant cutting pass to her teammate, but it just lacked the legs to skid through. Won the penalty with some great pace and anticipation, and then doubled the lead with a stunner, showing brilliant control and her clinical nature to give the Wolfsburg goalkeeper no chance. A live-wire and a constant threat until her substitution after an hour.
Guro Reiten (CM) – 6/10
Jessie Fleming (ST) – 7/10
Ji So-yun (AM) – 8/10
Drew Spence (CM) – 6/10