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Women's Football News
There were mixed results for the three British teams in the first leg of their Round of 32 ties in the UEFA Women's Champions League on Wednesday afternoon with one having all but booked their place in the last sixteen, one taking a good lead into the second leg and the other needing to overcome a one-goal deficit when the sides meet again next week.
Chelsea can look forward to the next round after Christmas as a powerful first half performance propelled them towards a 5-0 victory over SL Benfica. The Blues missed out on European competition last season but were determined to make up for lost time and were ahead after only 80 seconds of play. Fran Kirby turning home a cross from Pernille Harder to become the club's record goalscorer. Millie Bright then headed in from a Guro Reiten free kick and after Kirby had slotted in her second goal on the day, Reiten's corner was headed home by Harder to put them four goals up at half time. After the break, Beth England further increased their lead to leave Chelsea in a commanding position when the teams meet for the second leg at Kingsmeadow next Wednesday.
Manchester City meanwhile travelled to Sweden for a difficult looking task away to FC Goteborg and will be delighted with taking a 2-1 lead into the second leg. In freezing conditions, it was Goteborg who went ahead after four minutes when Vilde Boe Risa followed up to score from the rebound after Ellie Roebuck had saved Pauline Hammarlund's initial shot. It was half an hour before City were able to settle down after the early setback and they hit the woodwork twice before getting back on level terms, Caroline Weir winning possession and feeding Georgia Stanway whose shot went in via a post for her 50th goal for the club. This made the score 1-1 at half time but City went on to dominate matters after the break. With fifteen minutes remaining, they made the breakthrough once again and Weir was once again the provider, with a pinpoint cross which was headed back across goal by Sam Mewis and into the far corner of the net. The teams will meet again next Wednesday at the Academy Stadium.
Glasgow City also faced a hard tie at Sparta Prague and needed to produce a good second half performance to avoid potentially being put out of the tie. Although City had started the game brightly, Sparta came into the game as a force and opened the scoring just after the half hour, Marketa Ringelova bundling home from a scramble after a cross had come back off the bar. Things were to get worse for the SWPL side as they fell two goals behind on the stroke of half time, Anna Dlaskova firing home a powerful strike from the edge of the area which found the top corner. A double substitution at the interval seemed to help freshen things up for City and they got the away goal they craved soon after the restart. Aoife Colvill received the ball on the edge of the area and found Sharon Wojcik who curled a shot home and brought her side back into the tie. Lee Alexander made a good save at the other end to deny Chlastakova and Tyler Toland fired over for City, but the 2-1 scoreline leaves everything to play for the second leg which is also on Wednesday at the Broadwood Stadium, which will be televised live on BBC Alba.
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