Kerr, Harder and Kirby see Blues into Champions League semi-final with 3-0 win over Wolfsburg
By Paul Lagan
Wolfsburg 0 (1) v Chelsea 3 (5)
Sam Kerr, Pernille Harder and Fran Kirby, the holy trinity of attacking prowess, scored the goals that saw Chelsea cruise into the semi-final of the Champions League against Wolfsburg this afternoon, winning 5-1 on aggregate.
Leading 2-1 from the first leg, the Blues took control of the return leg thrashing their illustrious opponents 3-0 in Budapest.
While there is never the perfect performance, this was as close as it could possibly get and against a side who they have never previously defeated in Europe’s premier completion.
The opening exchanges saw the Blues take command of the play, without creating any goal-worthy chances.
Gradually the Germans got a foothold in the game, and started to force the pressure down their left-hand side. Magda Eriksson was forced hack the ball clear from close range as a result.
But that was a good as it got foe the Germans.
On 26 minutes, Sam Kerr burst through the German defence, latching onto a Pernille Harder long ball and was deemed to be fouled by Doorsoun inside the German penalty area.
Up stepped former Wolfsburg striker Harder who cooly slotted her right-footer into the side-netting, sending Kiedrzynek the wrong way to put Chelsea 1-0 up and 3-1 ahead on aggregate.
The home side’s Pajor should have equalised a minute later when she stretched to get to a byline cross but failed to direct the ball into the empty Chelsea net.
But on 33 minutes, the Blues doubled their lead. A simple pass by Sophie Ingle found Kerr just inside the Wolfsburg area. The Australian, surround by three players pivoted 180 degrees before blasting a low drive past the hapless goalkeeper.
There were no changes from either side at half-time.
The second half saw Wolfsburg huff and puff but could not breach the Chelsea rearguard in the early stages. Chelsea opted to defend and only attack on the counter which allowed the Germans to build up a head of steam.
To compound this strategy, coach Emma Hayes, replaced striker Kerr with wide player Guro Reiten.
Wolfsburg saw a regulation save from a free-kick by Berger on 70 minutes as they tried to reduce the deficit.
Hayes then decided to replace Erin Cuthbert for Jessie Fleming with Ji taking the place of Melanie Leupolz on 79 minutes.
Sixty seconds later, and if there were any doubt the Blues were going to win, they were quickly dispersed.
A clever one-two with Ji saw Kirby take the return ball and clip the ball over Kiedrzynek from close range to make it 3-0.
Drew Spence entered the fray, with seven minutes left at the expense of Sophie Ingle.
Chelsea will most likely play another German outfit in the semi-final - Bayern Munich who lead Rosenberg 3-0 in their first leg - the second leg is played tomorrow.
Chelsea return to WSL action on Sunday when they face Birmingham City at Kingsmeadow.
Berger, Carter, Bright, Eriksson, Andersson, Ingle, Leupolz, Kirby, Harder, Kerr, Cuthbert
Subs: Musovic, Ji, Telford, Blundell, England, Reiten, Fleming, Spence, Fox, Beever-Jones
Kiedrzynek, Hendrich, Janssen, Hugh, Popp, Rauch, Rolfo, Engen, Blomqvist, Pajor, Doorsoun
Subs: Schult, Abt, Jakabfi, Blasse, Saevik, Svava, Wolter, Dickenmann, Van De Sanden, Wedemeyer, Goessling, Cortes