Maren Mjelde praised the ‘match-winning’ performance of Chelsea Women goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger after she saved two penalties to help the Blues earn a 2-0 victory against Atletico Madrid in our round of 16 Champions League first leg.
The Blues were reduced to 10 players just 12 minutes into our first leg at Kingsmeadow when the referee sent off Sophie Ingle and awarded the visitors a penalty for a foul in the box.
Berger gave Chelsea a huge lift when she saved Deyna Castellanos spot-kick and the Blues bounced back from the early setback to net twice in the second half thanks to a Mjelde penalty and a goal from Fran Kirby.
With 10 minutes to go, Atletico were awarded their second penalty of the evening and Berger produced yet another outstanding save to deny Merel van Dongen and prevent the Spanish side from getting an all-important away goal.
Mjelde said: ‘She is unbelievable. She is showing us every day in training that she is one of the best and she shows it again. She is really good with penalties, so you have to do well to score past her and she made two good saves today which saved us.
‘It could have been a totally different result if it wasn’t for her.’
Mjelde was able to do what our opponents failed to do when she converted from 12 yards out after the Blues were awarded a penalty for a foul on Sam Kerr.
The defender slotted past former Blues goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl to give Chelsea a vital 1-0 lead just before the hour mark and Mjelde revealed that in build-up to the game she had prepared for this moment.
She said: ‘I have had it in my head the whole week that this is probably going to happen.
‘I do sometimes get that, I get a feeling and I prepared for that so it was good to see it go in.’
Chelsea will face West Ham in the Women’s Super League this weekend before our second leg against Atletico Madrid next Wednesday and Mjelde was delighted the Blues were able to keep a clean sheet.
She added: ‘The clean sheet was going through our minds when we were down to one less player.
‘The important thing is to not concede so they get an away goal. That was the most important thing. Next week we will take it to Italy and put a good performance in again.’
Chelsea’s game against West Ham on Sunday kicks off at 3pm and the match will be available to watch on the FA Player. The Blues will then travel to Monza in Italy for the second leg of our round of 16 Champions League game against Atletico Madrid and that games kicks off at 12:30pm (UK) and can be watched on BT Sport.