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Chelsea squad ‘best we’ve had’, says Hayes

Chelsea squad ‘best we’ve had’, says Hayes

Chelsea boss Emma Hayes said her squad is the best the Blues “have ever had” as her side maintained their perfect start in the Women’s Champions League by seeing off Real Madrid.

Chelsea remain favourites to win Group A, and are now five points clear of second-placed Paris St-Germain.

“This team is on another level,” said Hayes.

“This is the best squad we’ve ever had. I think that learning from previous years and learning from losing in the final [against Barcelona in 2021] helped.”

Following a drab first half, the Blues took the lead through Sophie Ingle’s 67th-minute header after Millie Bright flicked on a corner.

Erin Cuthbert’s dipping cross sealed the points with 15 minutes left, catching out goalkeeper Misa Rodriguez.

Blues canter home at expectant Kingsmeadow

Chelsea, who returned to the top of the Women’s Super League on Sunday after beating Tottenham at Stamford Bridge, came into the match leading the group, two points ahead of unbeaten Real Madrid.

After a 1-0 win over Paris St-Germain and an 8-0 victory against Vllaznia in their two other Champions League matches, a bouncing Kingsmeadow crowd was expectant.

They came close through Fran Kirby’s early curling effort in an otherwise uneventful first half.

With 25 minutes to go there was a nervous energy at Kingsmeadow with Real Madrid growing into the game, but that was soon replaced with relief after Ingle’s opener.

And Chelsea nearly added a third through two Niamh Charles efforts at the death as they cantered to victory.

Hayes praised her side’s maturity, adding: “I think a couple of years ago we’d have got impatient, especially in the first half.

“It was a calm dressing room at half-time. When these two teams are so relatively matched, I’m starting to see the importance of our experience.

“We certainly play better European football, we’re becoming more accustomed to it.”

Caroline Weir playing for Real Madrid against Chelsea

Real Madrid second-best in London

This was the first meeting between Chelsea and Real Madrid, but Las Blancas boast a fine record against English teams in the Champions League having knocked out Manchester City for the second consecutive season in August’s qualifiers.

The visitors came to west London having only lost once this campaign, against Barcelona in the Primera Division where they sit third in the table.

And though they struggled in the opening exchanges, last year’s quarter-finalists grew into the game as Esther Gonzalez saw a fierce shot blocked shortly after the restart.

But it was to be their only meaningful effort, with Chelsea the better side on Hayes’ first game back at Kingsmeadow since recovering from surgery.

Line-ups

Chelsea Women

Formation 4-3-3

  • 30Berger
  • 21Charles
  • 26Buchanan
  • 4Bright
  • 16Eriksson
  • 22Cuthbert
  • 5Ingle
  • 14KirbySubstituted forFlemingat 56′minutes
  • 19Rytting KanerydSubstituted forJamesat 56′minutesBooked at 69mins
  • 20Kerr
  • 11ReitenSubstituted forCarterat 79′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Musovic
  • 3Nouwen
  • 7Carter
  • 9England
  • 10James
  • 13Svitková
  • 15Périsset
  • 17Fleming
  • 27Abdullina
  • 28Cankovic
  • 36Akpan

Real Madrid Femenino

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Rodríguez Rivero
  • 2Robles
  • 14Sousa Feitoza
  • 5Andrés
  • 7CarmonaSubstituted forGarcíaat 81′minutes
  • 24OlofssonSubstituted forGálvezat 80′minutes
  • 21ZornozaSubstituted forTolettiat 86′minutes
  • 11Weir
  • 20FellerSubstituted forSvavaat 63′minutes
  • 10GonzálezBooked at 57minsSubstituted forHansenat 86′minutes
  • 8Oroz

Substitutes

  • 3Abelleira
  • 4Gálvez
  • 6Toletti
  • 9García
  • 13Gerard
  • 15Florentino
  • 16Hansen
  • 18Rodriguez
  • 22del Castillo
  • 23Svava
  • 27Camacho
  • 46Fuente

Referee:
Maria Ferrieri Caputi

Match Stats

Live Text

Post update

Match ends, Chelsea Women 2, Real Madrid Femenino 0.

  • Source: BBC

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