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  • Writer's pictureBethany Barker

Continental Cup: Chelsea advance to a seventh consecutive Semi-final

After a convincing win over Championship side Sunderland at Kingsmeadow, Chelsea have reached the League Cup semi-finals for a seventh consecutive season

Thursday 8th February 2024

 

Chasing the trophy that they last won three seasons ago, the home side had a much-changed team from the weekend's win against Everton and were able to create dangerous attacking pressure in the second consecutive home game of their four-game stretch. It's their first Continental Cup game, having been exempt from the group stages due to participating in the Champions League, since the final last year in which they lost to Arsenal 3-1 and they will be looking to make it to the final again to aim for a domestic treble in Hayes' final season in charge.


It was the teams' first meeting in six years, the last being a 2018 WSL clash where the Blues won 2-1 with goals coming from Fran Kirby and Eniola Aluko, and the evening's game mirrored the result booking the Blues' space in the semi-finals.



Changes for the home side:

Emma Hayes kicked off her side's Conti Cup campaign by demonstrating the depth of the squad with all eleven players from last weekend's WSL win being replaced, showing Hayes' tactical approach to squad rotation to ensure players gain experience in various competitions. Maika Hamano was given her first Chelsea start for her home debut after coming on as a substitute in a win at Bristol City in December 2023.




How they lined up:

Musovic, Mjelde, Nusken, Buchanan, Perisset, Ingle (c), Cankovic, Beever-Jones, Kirby, Hamano, Fishel.





Match recap:

After a slightly shakey start with a few missed opportunities from Chelsea in which Mia Fishel headed over in the opening minutes and missed shots from Kirby, Beever-Jones and Perisset there was an unusual break in play at 11 minutes, with the assistant referee down with a problem; after treatment, she was able to walk unaided off the pitch with, what appeared to be an injured arm. Following the restart, Sunderland created a momentary threat when Grace McCatty created the visitors' best chance when she headed narrowly over the bar, in what would be their only chance in the opening 45. The home side opened up the scoring in the 28th minute after Sjoeke Nüsken's header from close range hit the centre of the goal, and was assisted by Fran Kirby. Before half-time approached Aggie Beever-Jones fired a rocket at goal that was tipped over by a good save, but the lead was doubled in the 44th minute after Ève Périsset's cross met Nüsken whose header- from the centre of the box- met the bottom right corner of the net.


After the restart, it was not even a minute gone when Beever-Jones found space for a right-footed shot into the high centre of the goal from another blistering drive that the keeper could not touch- creating her seventh goal of the season and giving Chelsea more control. Sunderland created a higher press in the second half forcing Musovic into a handful of saves, but the home side's defensive line helped keep the clean sheet. After another couple of missed shots from the Blues- a miss from Fishel from a right-footed shot- it fell to Fran Kirby (in the 83rd minute) whose close range right footed shot hit the centre of the goal, giving Fishel her first assist of the night. To end the night's scoring, Kirby in the 91st minute headered Jelena Cankovic's cross -from the centre of the box- into the bottom left corner, to seal the victory for the WSL leaders.


Chelsea 5-0 Sunderland

Match statistics:

Chelsea


Sunderland

78

Possession (%)

22

22

Shots

8

10

Shots on Target

3

772

Passes

223

86

Pass Accuracy (%)

55



Next up: FA Cup vs Crystal Palace (11th February)

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