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  • Writer's pictureBethany Barker

Champions League: Blue's Dominant Display to Top Group

After a dominant four-goal win over Paris FC, Chelsea advanced to the quarter-finals with another unbeaten run in the group stages

Thursday 1st February 2023

 

The last game of the group stage for the WSL champions saw them face Paris FC (who needed a win to stay in the competition) away, after already sealing their spot in the knockout rounds after winning at home against Real Madrid (2-1). Emma Hayes made nine changes to her starting lineup:

  • Zecira Musovic returned to replace Hannah Hampton in goal

  • the back four was made up of Ashley Lawrence, Maren Mjelde, Kadeisha Buchanan, and Eve Perisset

  • Melanie Leupolz was replaced in midfield by Sophie Ingle, who was handed the captain's armband

  • Erin Cuthbert was rested and Sjoeke Nusken took her spot in midfield

  • Fran Kirby kept her place while Jelena Cankovic, Aggie Beever-Jones (who made her first starting debut in the Champions League), and Mia Fishel came into the attack


When: Tuesday, January 30, 2023

Where: Stade Robert Bobin, Bondoufle, France



Match report:

After a hesitant opening few minutes, with both teams losing possession at points, it didn't take long (in the 10th minute) for the visitors to get ahead; Jelena Cankovic's weighted cross was met by Fran Kirby who was unmarked at the far post and who headed in the first chance of the game. It was the second successive game Kirby had scored a header in after a three-month stint without a goal, it is also the midfielder's first Champions League goal this season. Following the goal Paris responded well, creating a press against the Chelsea defenders and forcing Zecira Musovic into a smart save, after a shot from Mathilde Bourdieu. With Chelsea gaining back control following the opener, US forward, Mia Fishel met another cross from Cankovic and headed in a second in the 36th minute.


After the restart, Julie Dufour (Paris midfielder) missed a sitter, leaning back and firing over the crossbar. Several defensive mix-ups from the hosts allowed Chelsea to gain more of an advantage with Guro Reiten providing off-the-bench impact by tapping the ball into the back of the net, in the 74th minute, after a miscommunication on the edge of the Paris box. Shortly followed by Maren Mjelde flicking a corner past goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie who was poorly positioned after another defending mishap.


The win rounded up the Blue's group stage with four wins and two draws and left Paris out of the competition, who despite being out had achieved their best result in the Champions League after knocking out last season's finalists Wolfsburg and semi-finalists Arsenal.


Chelsea's goalscorers: Fran Kirby, Mia Fishel, Guro Reiten and Maren Mjelde (from left to right)


Match statistics:

Paris FC


Chelsea

42

Possession (%)

58

14

Shots

6

1

Shots on target

4


Player of the Match: Jelena Cankovic

"I'm really happy with the team performance, and my performance. But the most important thing is the three points and that we finish the group stage on a high. I'm very happy I could contribute to the win. It shows where we are as a team. We want to win every match we play, but we'll take it game by game."






Emma Hayes on the game:

“It showed a maturity, we were clinical, we had six chances, four goals. There were young players who’ve not had a lot of ­minutes in the Champions League and it just shows you what quality we’ve got in our squad to be able to put in a performance like that.”

Champions League quarter-finalists:

  • Group A: Barcelona and Benfica

  • Group B: Lyon and Brann

  • Group C: Paris and Ajax

  • Group D: Chelsea and Hacken


Draw: 6th February 12:00 pm (BST)


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