Chelsea Women head to Paris tomorrow, taking an important 2-0 lead into the second leg of their Women’s Champions League quarter-final against PSG and knowing that their destiny is in their hands, writes Jane Grove.
“We’ll approach the second leg with exactly the same vigour and quality we did in the first leg,” said manager Emma Hayes of the task ahead. “They’re at home, they’ve got that advantage, but we’ve got experience of being in this position and we must maximise that and stay concentrated.”
It was a left-footed looping curler from Hannah Blundell – pictured above after the game – and a late low strike from Erin Cuthbert that put Chelsea firmly in the driving seat for the second leg on Wednesday.
Watched by England captain Phil Neville and Chelsea defender David Luiz among the 2,616 crowd, both teams had a cagey first half with few shots on goal, nullifying each other successfully.
However an early second-half substitution by Blues boss Emma Hayes switching Ji So-Yun for Fran Kirby upped the ante. The striker, fresh from her recent success in the SheBelieves Cup, almost broke the deadlock immediately just dragging her shot wide of Paris Saint-Germain goalie Christiane Endler’s right post.
Kirby was crucial in two assists feeding the ball through to both Blundell first and then Cuthbert for the deserved 2-0 win against a combative French side.
Hayes was delighted with her team’s efforts and said they had executed her game-plan perfectly.
“Exceptional, controlled, composed, experienced. It was a tactical game, it was cagey but we produced the quality in the right moments in the game. We are always competitive, the team is progressing and I think that this team is much further ahead than it was 12 months ago regardless of our league position.
“I will watch this back, scrutinise the game, and do my best to prepare the team for the away leg, knowing you have to prepare for the unexpected.”
Cuthbert, who was yellow-carded, will miss the second leg, but Millie Bright, who was suspended for the Kingsmeadow tie, will be available for selection.