By Paul Lagan at Kingsmeadow
Chelsea 2 v Real Madrid 0
Sophie Ingle and Erin Cuthbert scored the goals that gave below par Chelsea three vital Champions League points against Real Madrid at Kingsmeadow tonight, that puts them five points clear at the top of Group A.
Real Madrid will have to show greater urgency and attacking prowess in the return leg in two weeks’ time if they are going to have a chance of overhauling the west Londoners.
The Spanish side are level with PSG on four points for the second spot, with the French outfit coming to Stamford Bridge on December 22.
Quite why the Blues were lacking in a high tempo is difficult to assess, but they did enough – just to deserve the victory.
Guro Reiten almost opened the scoring on three minutes, but her curling right-footer was no trouble for Madrid goalkeeper Misa Rodriguez.
The home side dominated posession without creating too many gilt-edged chances.
The visitors were content to defend deep, and attack when the chance arose and the first half petered out.
There were no changes by either side at half-time.
The tempo of the game remained the same – slow and it was no surprise that on 56 minutes head coach Emma Hayes replaced Fran Kirby and Johanna Rytting Kaneryd – on came Jessie Flemingad Lauren James.
Ten minutes later and the Blues took the lead. An Erin Cuthbert corner was glanced on by Millie Bright at the near post and Sophie Ingle was on hand at the far post to tuck home and break the dogged resistance of the Spanish side.
With 15 minutes left on the clock, Cuthbert found herself attacking the right byline area. She attempted a cross but went one better by sailing her right-footed effort over Rodriguez in goal and watched the ball nestle the back of the net.
Reiten’s time was then up, with Jess Carter replacing her.
A clear indication that Hayes was content to strengthen the defence and hold the visitors back.
That game management proved to be successful.
Chelsea, Berger, Ingle, Reiten, Kirby, Eriksson, Rytting Kaneryd, Kerr, Harley, Cuthbert, Buchanan
Subs, Musovic, Nouwen, Carter, England, James, Svitkova, Perisset, Fleming, Abdullina, Cankovic, Akpan
Real Madrid, Rodriguez, Robles, Andres, Carmona, Oroz, Gonzalez, Weir, Sousa, Feller, Zornoza, Olofsson
Subs, Gerard, Fuente, Abelleira, Gálvez, Toletti, Garcia, Florentino, Meller, Rodriguez, Del Castillo,Svava, Camacho
Referee: Maria Sole Ferrieri Caputi (Italy)