It was women against girls as Chelsea, domestic champions and Champions League finalists, found themselves 5-0 up after less than half an hour against Servette of Switzerland… in Geneva. The goals flew in as the Blues’ nifty passing, cool finishing and superior fitness simply crushed their midweek opponents as Servette folded like napkins. Mellie Leupolz
It was women against girls as Chelsea, domestic champions and Champions League finalists, found themselves 5-0 up after less than half an hour against Servette of Switzerland… in Geneva.
The goals flew in as the Blues’ nifty passing, cool finishing and superior fitness simply crushed their midweek opponents as Servette folded like napkins.
Mellie Leupolz fired home the first after eight minutes, Fran Kirby added a second on 16 and four minutes later Sam Kerr had netted a third and a fourth.
It began to look as if the 21-0 record win in a single women’s Champions League game might be under threat, but after Kirby got her second on 27 minutes and Jessie Fleming fired in the sixth before the interval, from a tight angle, the tidal wave ran out of strength.
Guro Reiten added a seventh, four minutes after the restart, but then a series of substitutions took the sting out of Chelsea’s threat, while allowing manager Emma Hayes to give valuable game time to some of the bench.
Jorja Fox got her first Champions League experience, but the biggest cheer was reserved for the return of Maren Mjelde in the 66th minute, back after eight months rehab and recovery following a potentially career-ending knee injury in the final of last season’s Conti Cup.
Mjelde, who turned 32 this week, took over from Jess Carter at the centre of a defensive back three… though, frankly, with the attacking threat that the Swiss top-tier side posed, two at the back would have been adequate.
Her colleagues were emotionally charged and beaming from ear to ear to see her back in action, while Hayes described her as a “Rolls-Royce of a footballer” who will, she hopes, make the difference in Carter’s own development in the years to come.
“Jess Carter is a young player, and she can learn a lot from the likes of Maren. On the pitch, Maren is one of the most underestimated players in the world,” said Hayes.
Kerr added: “The Conti Cup, when she went down, it felt like we lost that game, to be honest.” In fact, Chelsea won 6-0 against Bristol City in a match as one-sided as the encounter in Stade Geneve.
Hayes was delighted to be able to rest key players in the second half, including Magda Eriksson, her influential captain, ahead of the weekend’s WSL clash with Man City.
To fully prepare, the squad hopped on a plane on Tuesday evening after the game and returned to London.
This was a one-way battle, a bruising lesson in superior footballing skills for the Swiss side and a huge boost for the returning Mjede as Chelsea dominated a game with 67% of possession.
It’s fair to say that the stats are likely to be narrower at the Academy Stadium in Manchester on Sunday afternoon.