Chelsea squad 'best we've had', says Hayes

Published on: 24 November 2022

Chelsea have won all three of their Women's Champions League matches this season

Chelsea boss Emma Hayes said her squad is the best the Blues "have ever had" as her side maintained their perfect start in the Women's Champions League by seeing off Real Madrid.

Second-half goals from Sophie Ingle and Erin Cuthbert helped the hosts ease to their win at Kingsmeadow.

Chelsea remain favourites to win Group A, and are now five points clear of second-placed Paris St-Germain.

"This team is on another level," said Hayes.

"This is the best squad we've ever had. I think that learning from previous years and learning from losing in the final [against Barcelona in 2021] helped."

Following a drab first half, the Blues took the lead through Sophie Ingle's 67th-minute header after Millie Bright flicked on a corner.

Erin Cuthbert's dipping cross sealed the points with 15 minutes left, catching out goalkeeper Misa Rodriguez.

    Relive Chelsea's Champions League win over Real Madrid

Blues canter home at expectant Kingsmeadow

Chelsea, who returned to the top of the Women's Super League on Sunday after beating Tottenham at Stamford Bridge, came into the match leading the group, two points ahead of unbeaten Real Madrid.

After a 1-0 win over Paris St-Germain and an 8-0 victory against Vllaznia in their two other Champions League matches, a bouncing Kingsmeadow crowd was expectant.

They came close through Fran Kirby's early curling effort in an otherwise uneventful first half.

With 25 minutes to go there was a nervous energy at Kingsmeadow with Real Madrid growing into the game, but that was soon replaced with relief after Ingle's opener.

And Chelsea nearly added a third through two Niamh Charles efforts at the death as they cantered to victory.

Hayes praised her side's maturity, adding: "I think a couple of years ago we'd have got impatient, especially in the first half.

"It was a calm dressing room at half-time. When these two teams are so relatively matched, I'm starting to see the importance of our experience.

"We certainly play better European football, we're becoming more accustomed to it."

Scotland international and ex-Manchester City midfielder Caroline Weir was unable to find the perfect pass for the visitorsReal Madrid second-best in London

This was the first meeting between Chelsea and Real Madrid, but Las Blancas boast a fine record against English teams in the Champions League having knocked out Manchester City for the second consecutive season in August's qualifiers.

The visitors came to west London having only lost once this campaign, against Barcelona in the Primera Division where they sit third in the table.

And though they struggled in the opening exchanges, last year's quarter-finalists grew into the game as Esther Gonzalez saw a fierce shot blocked shortly after the restart.

But it was to be their only meaningful effort, with Chelsea the better side on Hayes' first game back at Kingsmeadow since recovering from surgery.

    Line-upsMatch StatsLive Text

Line-upsChelsea Women

Formation 4-3-3

30Berger21Charles26Buchanan4Bright16Eriksson22Cuthbert5Ingle14Kirby19Rytting Kaneryd20Kerr11Reiten

    30Berger21Charles26Buchanan4Bright16Eriksson22Cuthbert5Ingle14KirbySubstituted forFlemingat 56'minutes19Rytting KanerydSubstituted forJamesat 56'minutesBooked at 69mins20Kerr11ReitenSubstituted forCarterat 79'minutes



Real Madrid Femenino

Formation 4-3-3

1Rodríguez Rivero2Robles14Sousa Feitoza5Andrés7Carmona24Olofsson21Zornoza11Weir20Feller10González8Oroz

    1Rodríguez Rivero2Robles14Sousa Feitoza5Andrés7CarmonaSubstituted forGarcíaat 81'minutes24OlofssonSubstituted forGálvezat 80'minutes21ZornozaSubstituted forTolettiat 86'minutes11Weir20FellerSubstituted forSvavaat 63'minutes10GonzálezBooked at 57minsSubstituted forHansenat 86'minutes8Oroz


    3Abelleira4Gálvez6Toletti9García13Gerard15Florentino16Hansen18Rodriguez22del Castillo23Svava27Camacho46Fuente

Referee:Maria Ferrieri CaputiMatch StatsHome TeamChelsea WomenAway TeamReal Madrid FemeninoPossessionHome49%Away51%ShotsHome11Away7Shots on TargetHome5Away2CornersHome9Away2FoulsHome12Away5Live TextPost update

Match ends, Chelsea Women 2, Real Madrid Femenino 0.

90'+4'Full Time

Second Half ends, Chelsea Women 2, Real Madrid Femenino 0.

90'+3'Post update

Attempt blocked. Caroline Weir (Real Madrid Femenino) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Møller.

90'Post update

Caroline Weir (Real Madrid Femenino) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90'Post update

Foul by Magdalena Eriksson (Chelsea Women).

88'Post update

Attempt missed. Niamh Charles (Chelsea Women) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Lauren James.


Substitution, Real Madrid Femenino. Møller replaces Esther González.


Substitution, Real Madrid Femenino. Sandie Toletti replaces Claudia Zornoza.

84'Post update

Ivana Andrés (Real Madrid Femenino) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

84'Post update

Foul by Sophie Ingle (Chelsea Women).

84'Post update

Corner, Chelsea Women. Conceded by Rocío Gálvez.

83'Post update

Attempt blocked. Niamh Charles (Chelsea Women) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Lauren James with a cross.


Substitution, Real Madrid Femenino. Nahikari García replaces Olga Carmona.


Substitution, Real Madrid Femenino. Rocío Gálvez replaces Freja Olofsson.

80'Post update

Foul by Olga Carmona (Real Madrid Femenino).

80'Post update

Jess Carter (Chelsea Women) wins a free kick on the right wing.


Substitution, Chelsea Women. Jess Carter replaces Guro Reiten.

78'Post update

Attempt missed. Sam Kerr (Chelsea Women) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Erin Cuthbert with a cross following a corner.

77'Post update

Corner, Chelsea Women. Conceded by Kenti Robles.


Goal! Chelsea Women 2, Real Madrid Femenino 0. Erin Cuthbert (Chelsea Women) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the right to the top left corner. Assisted by Niamh Charles.

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