Chelsea were hammered 5-2 by Montpellier in the opening match in the four-team Women’s French Cup tie in Colomiers, France this evening.
With many of the tried and tested players of international calibre sitting on the bench - this was a great chance for Emma Hayes’s fringe players to stake a claim for inclusion in her squad for the season or at least put doubts into her head that she shouldn’t bin a couple out on loan.
They failed on the first and Hayes has a major decision or two regarding the later
The match was over before the likes of Millie Bright, Fran Kirby and others entered the fray. Perhaps they will start on Thursday when the Blues face the winners of the second match between Paris St-Germain and Bayern Munich.
But with only behind closed doors matches before the season opener against Spurs at Stamford Bridge next month, Hayes and her team will have a lot to do to sharpen the fitness, engender an intensity into their play and work out a sensible formation.
Norway’s exciting Guro Reiten notched the Chelsea goal. Little of what she produced in the World Cup was evident and she was one of the six taken off when 5-1 down.
In goal was Ann-Katrin Berger who replaced Hedvig Lindahl who left the club in the summer.
Sloppy play of the highest order Berger led to the first goal for the French side.
She needlessly kicked the ball directly to Montpelier’s Sandie Toletti, who proceeded to slalom through the Chelsea rearguard and thump the ball past the German goalkeeper to put the French side ahead after just five minutes.
Six minutes later and it’s number two to Montpellier as they walked the ball again to the edge of the Chelsea penalty area unhindered. This allowed unmarked Sarah Puntigam to sweep the ball into the air, it lobbed tantalising too high for Berger to do anything about it and the ball nestled into the back of the net to double the score.
Then as if things could not get any worse, they did. A simple corner on 19 minutes was headed in art the far post by Puntigam for her second and Montpelier’s third.
Chelsea’s first effort on goal, if it genuinely could be called that, came on 39 minutes, when new signing Guro Reiten tried a lofted shot from outside the Montpellier penalty area. It drifted high and wide of goal.
But goal number four came two minutes before time when Toletti scored direct from a free-kick for her second
Norway’s Guro Reiten, up to that point, might as well have spend the preceding 44 minutes in the stand with the 14 Chelsea fans who made the trip to south France. But she somehow managed to squeeze the ball past goalkeeper Marion Torrent to nab a goal on her debut.
Chelsea boss Emma Hayes refused to make any changes at the break.
It soon became 5-1 as Berger failed to latch on to a simple cross from the right. The ball went over her and dropped at the gleeful boot of Mondesir who taped home from six yards.
Hayes had seen enough and instantly brought on Millie Bright, Fran Kirby, Ramona Bachmann, Maren, Magdalena Eriksson and youngster Charlotte Fleming.
Bachman had a great chance to score but Torrent snatched an attempted lob on 70 minutes.
Seconds from the end, Kirby raced clear and was hacked down by the goalkeeper. Maren Mjelde slotted easily from the spot kick to make it 5-2 on the whistle.
Chelsea: Berger, Thorisdottir, Ingle, Asante, Carter, England, Ji, Reiten, Engman, Cooper, Spence
Subs: Telford, Orman, Blundell, Bright, Kirby, Eriksson, Mjelde, Bachmann, Fleming
Montpelier: Torrent, De Almeida, Karchaoui, Toletti, Mondesir, Perrault, Gauvin, Nicole, Leger, Puntigham, Le Bihan
Subs: Mayi Kith, Dekker, Banusic, Martinez, Lakrar, Uffren, Bourma, Belloumou, Marty, Champagnac, Saviana, Gros