• By Paul Lagan

Kirby strikes twice as Blues thrash Sarajevo 6-0 in Champions League at Kingsmeadow


Fran Kirby notched up a brace alongside Drew Spence as the Blues thrashed SFK @000 Sarajevo 6-0 in the Champions League round of 32 tonight at Kingsmeadow Stadium – the aggregate score of 11-0 was totally justifiable. She even saw her penalty in the last minutes saved.

Kirby’s first was a milestone for the the mercurial striker as it was her 50th goal for the Blues since signing from Reading in 2015.

She had been waiting all season to hit her half century as the Blues defence of their WSL 1 title has stalled with three 0-0 draws.

But this will do her confidence a power of good as the Blues return to Kingston, on Sunday in league action against Bright & Hove Albion.

With the Blues 5-0 up from the first leg, manager Emma Hayes rang seven changes from the weekend’s dour 0-0 WSL draw at Everton.

Shew could have taken a couple of fans from the 667 and they would

And three minutes in and the aggregate was 6-0.

Drew Spence powerfully held off a challenge from Azra Hamzic and slotted cooly home from close range after Fran Kirby expertly laid on the perfect through ball.

Bethany England tried her luck with a cute header two minutes later, but she failed to direct it properly and she zipped the ball just wide of Envera Hasanbegovic’s goal.

Spence should have doubled the lead on nine minutes, but she was more concerned about being not offside, she did not concentrate fully on the approaching ball, and headed wide of goal.

A Karen Carney pile-driver was the next goal-bound effort on25 minutes, but the 35-yarder pinged inches away from goal. On the half-hour and Kirby got her just rewards for an industrious start. Latching onto a long ball, the striker, cut through the Sarajevo defence, rounded the goalkeeper and struck a beauty of a low, left-footer into an empty net.

It was Kirby’s 50th Chelsea goal.

There were no changes by either side at half-time. But same result and a thumping free-kick by Maren Mjelde two minutes into the restart made it 3-0.

Engman was replaced by Ji and Cuthbert replaced two goal heroine Spence on 60 minutes.

Quickly followed by Ramona Bachmann for Carney.

Kirby notched up her second of the night, skipping through the visitors defence before slipping the ball under the luckless Hazanbegovic’s body.

Number five, four minutes from time came from the boot of right back Hannah Blundell.

Cuthbert was first to react as Kirby was hauled down for a penalty. She saw her spot-kicked saved but the Scotland winger smashed in the rebound.

TEAMS:

Chelsea: Lindahl, Thorisdottir, Blundell, Ingle, Carney, Kirby, England, Engman, Mjelde, Spence, Bailey

Subs: Durack, Bright, Carter, Ji, Ericsson, Cuthbert, Bachmann

SFK 2000 Sarajevo

Hasanbegovic, Djokovic, Spahic, Kapetanovic, Medic, Hamzic, Kameric, Nikolic, Kuljanin, Hadzic, Selimovic

Subs: Sijivo, Crnjak, Dzaferovic, Sphic, Bojat, Numanovic, Rahmanovic

Referee Simona Ghisletta

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