Chelsea will take a narrow one-goal advantage into the second leg of their Champions League quarter final following a 2-1 win over Wolfsburg at the Ferenc Szusza Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Wolfsburg dominated for large periods, Alexandra Popp rattling the post from close range and having a goal correctly ruled out for handball, while Ann-Katrin Berger pulled off a selection of fine saves to keep her side in the game in the first half. The She Wolves’ dominance continued in the second period, clattering the woodwork again, only for Chelsea to take the lead after 55 minutes with their first shot on target
Fran Kirby fed Sam Kerr, and she rounded Katarzyna Kiedrzynek before lashing the ball into the roof of the net. Kerr then turned provider, unselfishly laying it on for Pernille Harder to stroke home and double the Blues’ advantage.
With the momentum suddenly swung in Chelsea’s favour, Magdalena Eriksson gifted Wolfsburg a route back into the game with a clumsy challenge on Svenja Huth. Dominique Janssen confidently dispatched the subsequent spot kick.
Chelsea continued to soak up heavy Wolfsburg pressure to preserve their slender advantage, leaving proceedings tantalisingly poised heading into Wednesday’s second leg.
Let’s get into some player ratings.
Ann-Katrin Berger (GK) – 8/10 – Made two big saves in quick succession to keep out Fridolina Rolfo in the first half, and a stunning point blank save to deny the Wolfsburg forward again in the second.
Niamh Charles (RB) – 8/10 – Continues to look right at home at full-back with another assured performance, particularly defensively.
Millie Bright (CB) – 5/10 – Helped to create Chelsea’s first opening after half an hour with a marauding run out from the back. Almost gifted Wolfsburg a goal in the first half with a stray, backwards header. Put her side in danger on a couple of occasions when caught in possession or with a loose clearance.
Magdalena Eriksson (CB) – 6/10 – Conceded a second half penalty with a rash challenge on Janssen. Won plenty in the air.
Jonna Andersson (LB) – 6/10 – Made a crucial goal line clearance in the first half. A number of Wolfsburg’s most promising openings came down the Chelsea left, and guilty of fluffing her lines when in a promising attacking position in the second half.
Sophie Ingle (CM) – 6/10 – Chelsea were outplayed in midfield in the first half, but Ingle grew into the game, mopped up well and was tidy in possession.
Melanie Leupolz (CM) – 6/10 – So intelligent and positionally aware, often dropping into the right back slot to allow Charles to push forward. Looked a bit over run in midfield in the first half.
Ji So-yun (CM) – 6/10 – Struggled to impose herself on the game in the first half, but was instrumental in Chelsea’s second with a clever pass to pick out Kirby. Replaced after 73 minutes.
Fran Kirby (FW) – 7/10 – Sent Kerr away with a perfectly weighted pass for Chelsea’s opener, the familiar duo combining again. Won the ball back deep inside Wolfsburg’s half in the build up to Chelsea’s second.
Sam Kerr (FW) – 8/10 – Rounded Kiedrzynek and fired the ball into the roof of the net from a tight angle to give Chelsea the lead, before setting up Harder for Chelsea’s second.
Pernille Harder (FW) – 7/10 – Turning out against her former side for the first time, doubled Chelsea’s lead with a cool finish from inside the area. Somewhat isolated in the first half, showed more of her quality in the second.
Erin Cuthbert – 5/10
Guro Reiten – 5/10