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Chelsea 1 (Kirby 39) Glasgow City 0
A brilliant strike by Fran Kirby gave Chelsea a one-goal advantage to take into the second leg of the UEFA Women's Champions League Round of 32 tie against Glasgow City.
Chelsea did have other opportunities to extend their lead but came up against a well organised Glasgow defence in determined mood and goalkeeper Lee Alexander was in excellent form.
There was an early scare for City when Gemma Davison broke into the area and drove a dangerous low cross across the face of goal which just eluded Eniola Aluko at the far post.
From this point though, the pattern of the game was established with Chelsea having most of the territorial advantage but struggling to get behind a well disciplined Glasgow defence which welcomed back Rachel Corsie in the centre.
Ji So-Yun was off target with a free kick and Millie Bright drove a shot wide from distance but six minutes before half time, a moment of brilliance broke the deadlock.
There seemed little danger to the visitors as Kirby received the ball 25 yards from goal under the close attention of Cheryl McCulloch. However, the striker took one touch to create just enough room to crash a powerful shot past Alexander and in off the underside of the bar to put her side ahead.
Gilly Flaherty headed wide from a corner a minute later but Chelsea were able to go into the interval with a one-goal lead under their belts.
Glasgow City had had their moments during the first half without troubling Hedvig Lindahl in the Chelsea goal and impressive striker Denise O'Sullivan was often left isolated. However two minutes after the restart, they passed up a glorious chance to grab a precious away goal.
Leanne Ross drilled a free kick into the area, beyond the far post where Corsie did well to head down for an unmarked Kerry Montgomery who blazed her shot over the bar from ten yards out.
Chelsea began to press once again but were consistently being repelled by the City defence who continued to prevent them from getting into the area. Bright was off target with another long range effort but then the Blues were to get a great chance themselves, Kirby wriggling her way down the left and crossing for Ji who stabbed her shot over the bar.
Kirby herself shot over and then Bright looked to have doubled her side's lead with a powerful 25-yard strike which was arrowing into the corner of the net but Alexander dived low to her right to pull off an outstanding save.
At the other end, O'Sullivan shot over after exchanging passes with Abbi Grant but Chelsea were pushing hard at this point with Kirby driving wide after cutting in from the left.
Substitute Ana Borges then opened up the City defence with a great run which took her past three players and through with only Alexander to beat but once again the keeper was up to the task, getting a hand to her shot and turning it past the post.
Alexander was again to save from Davison in injury time before the final whistle signalled a result which neither side would have been unhappy with.
The return leg is at the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie next Wednesday (7.30pm). Entry is £10 adults and £5 kids and tickets can be bought on the night at the turnstiles or in advance via www.glasgowcityfc.co.uk.
Chelsea: Hedvig Lindahl, Hannah Blundell, Claire Rafferty, Millie Bright, Gilly Flaherty, Niamh Fahey, Gemma Davison, Drew Spence (sub Laura Coombs 79mins), Eniola Aluko (sub Ana Borges 68mins), Ji So-Yun, Fran Kirby. Subs not used: Marie Hourihan, Anne Meiwald, Katie Chapman, Jodie Brett, Rosella Ayane.
Glasgow City: Lee Alexander, Nicola Docherty, Hayley Lauder, Rachel Corsie, Cheryl McCulloch, Joanne Love (sub Georgie Rafferty 89mins), Denise O'Sullivan, Kerry Montgomery, Leanne Ross, Erin Cuthbert (sub Clare Shine 73mins), Abbi Grant. Subs not used: Megan Cunningham, Rhonda Jones, Courtney Whyte, Lauren McMurchie, Julie Fleeting.
Photo - Leanne Ross shields the ball from Eniola Aluko (www.jamesprickett.co.uk)
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