Hacken 1-3 Chelsea: Erin Cuthbert double sends Blues top of Champions League group

Erin Cuthbert scored twice to help Chelsea move top of their Champions League group with a 3-1 victory over Hacken.

Hacken 1-3 Chelsea: Erin Cuthbert double sends Blues top of Champions League group
Hacken 1-3 Chelsea: Erin Cuthbert double sends Blues top of Champions League group

Sam Kerr opened the scoring after 14 minutes in Gothenburg, but the two sides entered the break level after Clarissa Larisey’s bullet header ended a rapid Hacken counter-attack.

The Swedish side were unbeaten heading into Wednesday’s game and a win would have seen them secure a place in the quarter-finals.

However, their hopes quickly faded when Cuthbert fired home two low strikes in the space of 12 minutes as Emma Hayes’ side ended their last game of 2023 on a high.

Cheered on by a sell-out crowd, Molly Johansson thought she had netted a consolation goal in injury time, only for it to be ruled out for offside.

In Wednesday’s other Group D match, Paris FC inflicted a 1-0 defeat on Real Madrid to end the Spanish team’s chances of qualifying.

“We are where we want to be,” Hayes told Uefa.com. “Our quality showed in the end.”

Asked if Hacken’s equaliser made her nervous, Hayes added: “Nope, I wasn’t. We have had such ‘big game accumulation’ that it showed in the first half, but I thought the second half we were in control. I think we won deservedly.”

An end-to-end encounter burst into life when Larisey struck the crossbar in the fourth minute before Kerr slammed home from close range 10 minutes later.

However, Chelsea struggled to deal with the home side’s counter-attacks and Hisingen Arena erupted into a blur of yellow and black as the home crowd waved flags and scarves as Larisey nipped in front of Jess Carter to head home Monica Jusu Bah’s cross for the equaliser.

“We really showed in the second half what sort of team we are,” said Johanna Rytting Kaneryd, who joined Chelsea from Hacken in 2022.

In similar fashion to the start of the first half, Anvegard whacked the crossbar before the visitors restored their lead with Ingle finding an unmarked Cuthbert, who had plenty of time to compose herself before placing the ball in the bottom right corner.

The Scotland international showed the same coolness for her second goal with a clinical finish to put the visitors in the driving seat.

A win against Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge on 24 January will see the Blues into the quarter-finals, with their final group stage game against Paris FC on 30 January.

Hacken 1-3 Chelsea: Erin Cuthbert double sends Blues top of Champions League group
Hacken 1-3 Chelsea: Erin Cuthbert double sends Blues top of Champions League group

Clinical Cuthbert closes out Chelsea’s 2023

In a frustrating goalless draw with Hacken at Stamford Bridge on Thursday, Chelsea lacked a cutting edge in front of goal against their Swedish opponents.

Despite having 71% of the possession and 22 shots and twice being denied by the woodwork, the Blues couldn’t find a way through a well-organised defence.

The reverse fixture told a completely different story. Instead of playing a low block, Hacken raced out of the blocks and proved a threatening force on the counter attack, often cruising through Chelsea’ defence.

However, the woodwork and Hacken’s determination to push forward worked in Chelsea’s favour as the visitors found gaping holes in their backline.

Cuthbert had acres of space for her first goal and she waltzed past Hacken’s helpless defenders for her second, which was the the club’s 100th goal of the year.

The 25-year-old’s brace made sure Chelsea will end 2023 on a positive note with 28 wins from 38 games.

The Blues go into the Women’s Super League’s winter break with a three-point advantage at the top of the table and their first game in the new year will be against West Ham in the Women’s FA Cup fourth round on 14 January.

“I’ll have a tremendous break,” said Hayes.

“I will switch off. Spend time with family, do what’s important.

“I do know that I don’t want to see any one of them [the players] until the New Year, and then when I do see them I’m sure I’ll be ready to go again.”

Erin Cuthbert scored twice to help Chelsea move top of their Champions League group with a 3-1 victory over Hacken. Sam Kerr opened the scoring after 14 minutes in Gothenburg, but the two sides entered the break level after Clarissa Larisey’s bullet header ended a rapid Hacken counter-attack. The Swedish side were unbeaten heading into…

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