Hacken’s defeat places Chelsea “where they want to be”

With a 3-1 victory over Hacken, Erin Cuthbert scored twice to help Chelsea advance to the top of their Champions League group. Sam Kerr scored the opening goal in Gothenburg after fourteen minutes, but Clarissa Larisey’s thunderous header put a stop to a rapid Hacken counterattack and brought the two teams into halftime tied.

With an unblemished record entering Wednesday’s match, a victory would have guaranteed the Swedish side a berth into the quarterfinals.

Cuthbert scored twice in the space of twelve minutes from low range, putting an end to their aspirations and ensuring that Emma Hayes’ squad concluded their final match of 2023 on a high note.

Molly Johansson, who was applauded by a sold-out audience, believed she had scored a consolation goal in the dying moments, but the attempt was subsequently disallowed for offside.

In the other Group D match on Wednesday, Paris FC eliminated Real Madrid’s chances of qualifying with a 1-0 loss. “Everything is in its proper place,” Hayes informed Uefa.com. “Our quality ultimately prevailed.”

When asked if Hacken’s equaliser caused her any anxiety, Hayes responded, “I was not at all. Our “huge game accumulation” was evident in the first half, but I believed we regained control in the second. I believe we earned our victory.”

Larisey struck the crossbar in the fourth minute, and 10 minutes later, Kerr scored from close range to ignite an end-to-end contest.

Larisey darted in front of Jess Carter to head home Monica Jusu Bah’s cross for an equaliser as Hisingen Arena erupted in a commotion of yellow and black, with supporters waving scarves and flags. Chelsea, on the other hand, struggled to contain the home side’s counterattacks. “We really demonstrated what kind of team we are in the second half,” said Johanna Rytting Kaneryd, who transferred to Chelsea in 2022 from Hacken.

Anvegard struck the crossbar in a manner reminiscent of the opening moments of the first half. However, the visitors regained the advantage when Ingle passed the ball to an unmarked Cuthbert, who had an ample amount of time to gather herself before converting the pass into the lower right corner.

The Scotland international scored her second goal with the same clinical finishing that propelled the visitors ahead in the game.

With a victory at Stamford Bridge against Real Madrid on January 24, the Blues will advance to the quarterfinals. On January 30, they will face Paris FC in their final group stage match.

Thursday at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea were held scoreless by Hacken, a result of their inability to score and their lack of offensive prowess against the Swedish opponents.

Despite possessing 71% of the field and having 22 shots, including two that were blocked by the woodwork, the Blues were unable to breach the well-organized defence.

The contrasting narrative was conveyed by the inverted fixture. Hacken, rather than utilising a low block, charged out of the blocks and established himself as a formidable counteroffensive force, frequently slicing through the Chelsea defence. Nevertheless, Hacken’s unwavering determination to advance and the woodwork both worked in Chelsea’s favour, as the visitors discovered glaring vulnerabilities in their defence.

Cuthbert scored the club’s 100th goal of the year after waltzing past Hacken’s defenceless defenders after creating acres of space for her first and second goals, respectively.