Match report as Chelsea ease to an emphatic 5-1 aggregate success of Wolfsburg to reach the Women’s Champions League semi-finals; leading 2-1 from first leg, goals from Pernille Harder, Sam Kerr and Fran Kirby seal victory; Bayern Munich or Rosengard await in the last four
Chelsea stormed into the Women’s Champions League semi-finals after an emphatic 3-0 second-leg victory to seal a 5-1 aggregate success over last season’s runners-up Wolfsburg.
Leading 2-1 from the first leg a week ago, Chelsea took control of the tie with two goals in six first-half minutes as Pernille Harder scored from the penalty spot (26) and Sam Kerr doubled the WSL side’s advantage (32).
Wolfsburg needed four goals without reply in the second half to have any chance of keeping their Champions League dream alive, but Chelsea defended resolutely before Fran Kirby rounded off a famous win for Emma Hayes and her side.
Victory means Chelsea, who stay on course for a first Women’s Champions League success, set up a last-four showdown with either Bayern Munich or Rosengard, who play their second leg on Thursday with the German side holding a 3-0 lead over their Swedish opponents from the first leg.
Wolfsburg: Kiedrzynek (6), Doorsoun-Khajeh (5), Hendrich (6), Janssen (6), Rauch (6), Rolfo (5), Engen (5), Huth (5), Popp (6), Pajor (5), Blomqvist (6).
Subs: Van de Sanden (6), Svava (n/a), Jakabfi (n/a), Cordes (n/a).
Chelsea: Berger (9), Carter (8), Bright (8), Eriksson (8), Andersson (7), Ingle (8), Leupolz (7), Cuthbert (7), Kirby (8), Kerr (8), Harder (8).
Subs: Reiten (6), Ji (n/a), Fleming (n/a), Spence (n/a).
Man of the match: Ann-Katrin Berger.
How Chelsea cruised into the last four…
Chelsea made a bright start, starting firmly on the front foot and they were rewarded when they gifted a penalty by two-time winners Wolfsburg in the 26th minute.
It was a controversial decision as Sara Doorsoun-Khajeh was adjudged to have brought down Kerr inside the box, but replays suggested the contact started outside the area.
The referee, who was a long way behind the play, eventually pointed to the spot and Harder came back to haunt her former side once again, slotting her spot kick into the bottom left corner, sending Wolfsburg goalkeeper Katarzyna Kiedrzynek completely the wrong way.
Wolfsburg went close to hitting back two minutes later with the sliding Ewa Pajor getting on the end of Fridolina Rolfo’s cross at the far post but was only able to divert the ball wide.
Pajor kicked the post in frustration – and three minutes later, Wolfsburg’s woes increased further as Kerr received a pass in the box, held off Doorsoun-Khajeh while turning, and fired past Kiedrzynek.
It meant Wolfsburg needed a miracle as the German side required four goals to turn things aroun in the second half but they got no change from Chelsea, who defended superbly against the German side.
They did not manage to produce much in their subsequent efforts to fight back, with Felicitas Rauch being thwarted by a fine Jessica Carter tackle midway through the second half, Rebecka Blomqvist sending an attempt off target and Dominique Janssen seeing her free-kick comfortably caught by Ann-Katrin Berger.
Kirby then added further gloss to the scoreline with an 81st-minute strike as Chelsea booked a place in the Champions League semi-finals for the third time since making their competition debut in the 2015-16 season.
Meanwhile, defeat was a huge blow for last year’s runners-up Wolfsburg, who won each of their four matches in the competition without conceding a goal on their way to the quarter-finals.
‘Biggest win in Chelsea Women’s history’
Chelsea boss Emma Hayes, speaking to Chelsea’s official website:
“We’ve had to lose eight times in the past to that team so to make the progress we’ve made and the investment the club has made in all of us, I think it’s probably the biggest win in Chelsea’s history.
“I’m extremely proud and grateful. There’s been lots of waking up in the middle of the night, scribbling down notes about what we need to do.
“The amount of hours my staff have put into recruitment and all the fine detail to make sure when we’re in this position we can close it out; the quality of recruitment, training, analysis… I know that thousands of hours have gone into getting this win.
“I wanted a brave performance from the team. We had belief from winning in the first leg – even though we were probably 60 per cent of what we were capable of there.
“I’m proud but it’s not enough; I want more.”
What’s next for Chelsea?
Chelsea host Birmingham City in the Women’s Super League on Sunday, April 4; kick off 12.30pm.
In the Champions League, Hayes’ side face a semi-final showdown against either Bayern Munich or Rosengard, with the first leg set to take place on April 24/25 and the second leg on May 1/2.