Star-studded Chelsea produced a polished performance to defeat Glasgow City 3-0 (4-0 agg) in the second leg of this evening’s Champions League round of 32 clash at the Excelsior Stadium, writes
A superb strike from the dangerous Eni Aluko gave Chelsea a vitally important away goal and the lead at the interval. Fran Kirby doubled the advantage before Gilly Flaherty got in on the act as the Londoners put their Champions League credentials on show.
The English champions enjoyed long periods of controlled possession throughout the first period as they searched for a breakthrough. The Blues created their first opportunity after seven minutes when last week’s match winner, Kirby, found the onrushing Katie Chapman with a well-timed pass however Lee Alexander made a superb save to deny the England internationalist.
City were well-organised, disciplined and committed but they struggled to make an impression as an attacking force. The flow of traffic was mainly directed towards the Glasgow goal, and as the minutes ticked by the talent and flair of Aluko, Ji, Kirby and the brilliant Gemma Davison became more apparent.
Chelsea grabbed the goal they sought after 22 minutes. Ji slipped the ball into the path of Aluko who evaded a number of challenges before unleashing an unstoppable right-foot shot from the edge of the box into the top corner.
The goal only relaxed Chelsea further and they confidently stroked the ball around with increasing threat. Alexander made a couple of smart saves to ensure that only one goal split the sides at the interval.
City introduced forwards Clare Shine and Susan Fairlie and they both made a positive impression in the early stages of the second half. Shine had a good chance to equalise but her volleyed effort at full stretch was well saved by the Chelsea goalkeeper, Hedvig Lindahl.
Within a minute of the Swede’s fine stop, Chelsea doubled their advantage. A rapid counter-attack was eventually finished by the skilful Kirby as the ruthless visitors demonstrated their undoubted class in an effort to kill the tie.
It did not take Chelsea long to bag a third goal. Defender Flaherty found space inside the six yard box and she powered a close range header beyond the despairing Alexander. Chelsea had a number of promising situations as they looked to add further goals to their tally, but a combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping prevented them from doing so. Abbi Grant came close to netting a consolation but her attempt slipped past the post as City’s 2015 Champions League campaign came to an end.
Although European football has ended for 2015 for City, they still have a title to win and will pick up their 9th successive SWPL title if they can get at least one point against Aberdeen on Sunday. Those with a ticket for the Chelsea game can get in free to the match. Just bring your ticket along. City v Aberdeen, is 2.30pm at Excelsior Stadium on Sunday.
Glasgow City: Alexander, Lauder, Love, O’Sullivan, Montgomery (Fairlie 46’), Docherty, McCulloch, Ross (c), Grant (McMurchie 77’), Corsie, Cuthbert (Shine 34’)
Subs Not Used: Cunningham, Jones, Hay, Boyce
Chelsea: Lindahl, Blundell, Bright, Flaherty, Fahey, Davison, Aluko (Ayane 75’), Ji, Kirby (Spence 68’), Borges, Chapman (Coombs 67’)
Subs Not Used: Rafferty, Hourihan, Brett, Meiwald
Referee: Bibiana Steinhaus