England and Kerr see Blues cruise to 8-0 aggregate win over Benfica in Champions League
By Paul Lagan at Kingsmeadow Stadium Picture by Paul Lagan
Chelsea 3 v Benfica 0
Beth England and Sam Kerr scored the goals that saw off Benfica 3-0 at Kingsmeadow as Chelsea thrashed the Portuguese side 8-0 on aggregate.
This was no more than a training ground exercise by the west Londoners while the opposition was in damage limitation mode,from the time they crossed the white line.
Blues boss Emma Hayes made a host of changes from the 1-0 win at Brighton at the weekend - with a WSL derby against Spurs on Sunday clearly in mind.
Had Hayes brought on the stewards, they would probably have secured qualification to the next round, such was that lack of attacking prowess by the opposition.
England hit two while Kerr continues her fine form with a cooly driven strike.
The Blues had two gilt-edged chances in the opening eight minutes, but Beth England and Niamh Charles fluffed their chances by blasting high and wide when a bit of composure could have seen the Blues out of sight in the tie.
Already 5-0 up from the first leg, the Blues took early control of possession, with the Portuguese lucky to get over the half-way line with a counter-attack.
Guro Reiten threatens the side netting on 12 minutes but she was at a tight angle.
The visitors were forced into a substitution on 21 minutes, when Catarina Amado was carried off on a stretcher following a collision with her own goalkeeper. She was. replaced by Francisca Nazareth.
The Blues took a deserved lead on 28 minutes and there was an element of luck. Good movement on the left saw Reiten clip in a lovely curling ball to England. The striker either tried to cross with her left foot or it was an audacious angled drive. Either way, the ball zipped into the back of the net to make the aggregate score 6-0.
Charles, growing in confidence with every touch of the ball let fly with a zinger of a 30-yrder, but the ball inched wide of Dani Neuhaus’s left post on 40 minutes.
Emma Hayes made one change at half time, replacing Millie Bright for skipper Magda Eriksson.
It was one way traffic from here on in, with Benfica in retreat and defend mode.
The inevitable goal came on 65 minutes when an inch-perfect pass saw Kerr free and the Australian striker cooly slotted the ball home.
That was Kerr’s and Cuthbert’s last action - both were replaced by Pernille Harder and Fran Kirby.
She was quickly followed by Drew Spence who came on for Hannah Blundell.
It was as one-way traffic as it’s possible to get.
Deep,into Fred time, Kirby sent in a right wing byline cross and the ball fell to the feet of England who took a couple of touches before she scrambled the ball home from close range.
And that was that - game done.
Teams: Chelsea, Telford, Blundell, Bright, Ingle, Carter, England, Reiten, Jessie Fleming, Kerr, Charles, Cuthbert
Subs:Berger, Orman, Thorisdottir , Leupolz, Kirby, Eriksson, Mjelde, Harder, Spence, Andersson
Benfica, Neuhaus, Seica, Rabelais, Fidalgo, Vitoria, Costa, Amando, Lacasse, Paulette, Raysla, Cameirao,
Subs: Vilao, Amani, Alberto Cristo , Nazareth, Lopez Silva, Veiga Malta
Referee: Kina Lehtovaara (Finland)