Goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger was the hero as a 10-player Chelsea side defeated Atletico Madrid 2-0 in their UEFA Women’s Champions League round of 16 first leg tie at Kingsmeadow this evening.
The German international saved two penalties as Emma Hayes’ side won the tie despite playing 78 minutes with 10 players following the early dismissal of Welsh international Sophie Ingle.
Chelsea had the first chance of the game when Beth England directed the ball into Pernille Harder’s path but visiting keeper Hedvig Lindahl tipped the ball to safety.
The referee first pointed to the penalty spot after 12 minutes when Ingle came together with Atletico forward Rasheedat Ajibade in the box. Deyna Castellanos took the spot kick but Berger came out on top.
Chelsea began to take some control in the game early in the second half and Sam Kerr went close to breaking the deadlock when put through by Fran Kirby.
The Blues then had a golden opportunity to take the lead just before the hour mark when Kerr was fouled in the area. Maren Mjelde stepped up to take the resulting penalty kick and made no mistake in beating Lindahl.
Kirby then saw an effort stump the post before the same player found the back of the net moments later to leave Chelsea in dreamland.
A rollercoaster of a night at Kingsmeadow took another twist 10 minutes from time when Berger brought down Ludmila in the area and Atletico were awarded a second penalty kick. Defender Marel van Dongen this time stepped up but was denied by Berger who again got down low to keep the ball out of the net.
The scoreline remained 2-0 to The Blues. It was a night packed with drama but one which Hayes’ side overcome and Chelsea will be confident of completing the job in Madrid next week.