Chelsea’s quadruple hopes have strengthened after they beat VfL Wolfsburg for the first time in history to take a 2-1 advantage into the second leg of their UEFA Women’s Champions League quarter-final tie.
VfL Wolfsburg’s head coach Stephan Lerch will be annoyed that his side were unable to capitalise on their chances, as Chelsea’s keeper Ann-Katrin Berger fuelled The Blues’ narrow victory over the German side.
There were errors at both ends in the first half with the first mistake coming from Sara Doorsoun with an under-hit back pass. Blues forward Pernille Harder drove towards goal but VfL Wolfsburg keeper Katarzyna Kiedrzynk saved her team’s blushes by tackling the Danish international.
In the 13th minute, striker Ewa Pajor broke down the right wing, finding Alexandra Popp, whose shot bounced off the post. Soon after, Popp thought she’d taken the lead by tapping the ball into the net from close range, although the referee deemed it to be a deliberate hand ball with the German centurion receiving a yellow card.
Blues’ defender Millie Bright was the source of chances for both Chelsea and VfL Wolfsburg. The England International was dispossessed in the 20th minute by Fridolina Rolfo, forcing Berger into a save. Pajor followed up with an acrobatic effort which was cleared off the line.
Nine minutes later, Bright stepped out of the defence to start a Chelsea attack, finding Kerr with a pass. The Australian International turned and set Fran Kirby free, who misjudged the amount of support on offer. Instead of capitalising on the chance, Kirby crossed the ball into an empty box.
Into the second half, The She-Wolves began to dominate once more with Svenja Huth crossing from the right and Rolfo’s resulting header clattering the post. The Germans would go on to rue their missed opportunities as in the 54th minute, Chelsea’s Kerr latched onto an over-hit pass from Kirby, rounding keeper Kiedrzynek and scoring from a tight angle. Lerch’s side looked to respond quickly but they were denied by a world-class point blank save from Blues keeper Berger.
Emma Hayes’ side went on to double their lead as former VfL Wolfsburg starlet Harder put The Blues 2-0 up after Kirby regained possession high up the pitch. The Germans were soon to reduce the arrears though as Chelsea captain Magda Eriksson brought down Huth inside the area and Dominique Janssen dispatched the penalty into the top right corner.
From here, the game quietened down until the final minutes as Berger, who had gone down for treatment, stopped Rebecka Blomqvist from equalising in added time.
Hayes will be under no illusion that there’s more work to do, her side will return to Budapest next week for the second leg with a slender advantage.