Sophie Ingle’s first goal of the season and yet another Erin Cuthbert spectacular, coupled with a clean sheet, continued the Blues’ immaculate start to the Champions League campaign.
The goals, scored from a corner and then from near the corner flag midway through the second half, made it nine points from nine and added to a winning run for Emma Hayes’s side that now stands at 10 in a row in all competitions.
It was a relatively cagey first half at Kingsmeadow as both sides sized each other up. Possession was shared pretty evenly but the Blues were in the Real Madrid half more than they were in ours. We had the only shot on target of the half, a good Fran Kirby effort well saved.
Having survived the Spaniards’ best attack soon after the restart, the two-goal second-half salvo served up a deserved win which places the Blues five points clear at the top of the group at the halfway stage. Paris St-Germain beat Vllaznia 5-0 at home in the day's other game in Group A.
Emma Hayes opted for three changes from the side that beat Tottenham impressively in the derby at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Two were in midfield where Fran Kirby and Johanna Rytting Kaneryd came in for Jessie Fleming and Lauren James, with the third at right-back – where Niamh Charles was switched in for Eve Perisset.
Half of few shots
Having started the group stage with two wins, the Blues went into tonight’s game knowing another victory, in this first of back-to-back European games against Real, would put us in a very strong position in the quest for qualification for the knockout stages, and we threatened the goal twice in the early stages.
It took less than two minutes for the Spaniards’ goalkeeper to be called upon to make a diving save – in doing so keeping out a bending effort by Kirby who was back in the starting 11 after illness.
Charles, another of those returning to the side, briefly troubled Misa Rodriguez between the posts with a cross that drifted dangerously towards the target before landing on the roof of the net.
We were making sure the Madrid side were not able to settle. Three times in the opening 15 minutes the ball was won deep inside the opposition half.
No one could blame Cuthbert for having an ambitious attempt from far out midway through the half after her blockbuster at the Bridge the previous game, but this time she sent her shot over the crossbar. The 24-year-old's moment would come.
For all the territory however, with the game very much being played in the Madrid half, as it reached 30 minutes played no one had worked their goalie since that early Kirby shot.
Turning up the tempo a little, Chelsea finished the half with Millie Bright, at a crowded near-post area, getting her boot to a low corner ahead of those in white shirts but the ball spun across goal and went wide.
In an indication of the balance of the game in those first 45 minutes, it was deep into added time before the interval that the visitors won their first corner.
Instead Real saved their first really dangerous attack for the start of the second half. Naomie Feller showed good pace in a race with Magda Eriksson but when Ann-Katrin Berger helped the cross on its journey away from goal, Charles successfully blocked the Spaniards’ follow-up shot.
It was moments later that Jessie Fleming and Lauren James were introduced with plenty of time to have an impact. James was soon bringing a different dimension by breaking through lines but from one attack and cross that initiated, Kerr could not control her header, unlike Ingle for the breakthrough goal which came with a quarter of the game to go.
It was the corner Chelsea had tried to work at the end of the first half. This time Cuthbert achieved more elevation on the delivery and that meant Bright could go with her head rather than her foot.
The flick-on was perfect and Ingle from right in front of the target had a relatively straightforward task and made no mistake.
The lead was doubled with a Blues goal out of the blue. Initially there seemed little danger when Charles sent Cuthbert scuttling down the line with a throw, but having glanced across to the middle, from not far before she reached the corner flag, the Scot smashed the ball across and left Rodriguez grasping at air. It was 2-0. Extraordinary!
There could have been a third. Kerr went close with a header and another was cleared off the line, and Charles shot wide when well placed, but two goals were always going to win this game with the Blues yet again tight at the back.
It's a weekend off and a clear midweek before the next action, which is a WSL visit to Leicester. Kick-off there on Saturday 3 December is 3pm. Then it is the return match against Real with that game in Spain on Thursday 8 December.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1):Berger; Charles, Buchanan, Bright, Eriksson (c); Cuthbert, Ingle; Rytting Kaneryd (James 56), Kirby (Fleming 56), Reiten (Carter 79); Kerr.
Unused subs Musovic, Abdullina, Perisset, Nouwen, Akpan, Cankovic, Svitkova, England.
Scorers Ingle 67, Cuthbert 76
Booked James 69Real Madrid (4-4-1-1): Rodriguez; Kenti Robles, Sousa, Andres (c), Carmona (Nahikari Garcia 81); Feller (Svava 63), Olofsson (Rocio Galvez 81), Zornoza (Toletti 86), Maite Oroz; Weir; Gonzalez (Moller 86).
Unused subs Gerard, Fuente, Abelleira, Claudia Florentino, Lucia Rodriguez, Del Castillo, Camacho.
Booked Svava 69
Referee Maria Sole Caputi from Italy