Match Report

Women win pre-season closer

Chelsea Women concluded our pre-season campaign with a 3-0 victory over Juventus at Kingsmeadow thanks to goals from Ramona Bachmann, Maren Mjelde and Fran Kirby.

The Blues were dominant throughout the contest, particularly in the first half before both sides utilised their substitutes, and a goal from our Swiss No23 was the least our performance deserved. It was a superb effort, too, as she took down a precise long ball before firing past the keeper.

However, Mjelde trumped it with a wonderful strike in the final minutes of the game, as she received a pass on the edge of the box and curled home a sumptuous goal which left the goalkeeper clawing at thin air. A copycat effort from Kirby, albeit from closer in, put the seal on a fine result and performance by Chelsea.

Goals looked to be on the cards from the word go between two sides who will both compete in the Champions League this season and the contest began with Bachmann almost finding the back of the net in the opening minute, only for her right-footed shot to come back off the woodwork.

It was an emotional homecoming for Eniola Aluko, who signed for the Italian champions in the summer after ending her five-and-a-half year association with Chelsea, and the former Blues No9 was given a standing ovation by the Kingsmeadow faithful in the ninth minute.

The best chances were almost exclusively being created by the home side, though, and both Fran Kirby and Maria Thorisdottir will feel they should have made more from clear-cut opportunities. Bachmann did exactly that shortly before the break, taking a long pass in her stride with a majestic first touch before drilling a left-footed strike along the ground and into the far corner.

Emma Hayes opted to make her full allocation of substitutions before the hour mark, giving a first taste of Kinsgsmeadow to Lizzie Durack, Jess Carter and Adelina Engman, but there was no let up in intensity from the Blues.

Sophie Ingle, in particular, stood out after the break with her magnificent passing from the base of midfield, with one such effort teeing up Kirby for a near miss with her left foot. Engman also narrowly missed the target with a clipped finish after getting on the end of a low cross.

Mjelde and Kirby's spectacular goals late on to put the seal on an excellent performance by the Blues and gave the scoreline a fair reflection of our dominance.

While the result is always of little consequence in pre-season friendlies, when the priority is getting minutes in the legs of the players ahead of the competitive action, the crowd at Kingsmeadow could go home satisfied after seeing their team tick both boxes in an entertaining match.

Attention now turns to our opening fixture of the 2018/19 season, which is a Continental Tyres group match against Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday 19 August.

Chelsea (4-1-2-3): Lindahl (Durack 46); Thorisdottir, Mjelde (c), Eriksson, Andersson (Carter 46); Ingle; Carney (Cuthbert 46), Ji (Bright 58); England (Spence 58), Kirby (Engman 58), Bachmann (Kirby 70*). 

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