Schelin strikes early
Despite starting on the front foot, keen to use Emma Hayes favoured 3-5-2 formation to press early, it was Chelsea who went behind first. Pressed but composed, the visitors seemed comfortable enough to move the ball around their own half, looking for an opening which came ten minutes in as Lotta Schelin received the ball on the edge of the box before dancing through Chelsea’s back line before digging the ball out and sending it was her compatriot in the Blue goal.
Utilised as a centre forward, Crystal Dunn was forced to fight her nature to go wide and cut in, the host’s best chance coming through the American international as she broke beyond and looked to have Zecira Musovic beaten only to see her shot fly wide. But still the hosts pressed, getting numbers forward, Gemma Davison’s trademark take on all comers run resulting in a cute shot for Musovic to pick out of the air.
Linking well with Claire Rafferty, Dunn drifted to the left and sent in a peach for Davison to attack at the far post, unlucky to see her first-time effort ricochet off of Emma Berglund before the visitors smuggled it to safety. Chelsea’s best attacking threat, Dunn saw another chance moments later as she found space in the D, her shot enough to leave Musovic rooted as it sailed over the bar.
After a bright Iva Landeka saw her free kick come to nothing, Chelsea were quick to counter, Dunn’s whipped effort drawing a smart diving save from Musovic as the young Swede tipped the effort wide for the first corner of the game. The set-piece, sent back in by Katie Chapman came to Millie Bright too quickly as her reaction volley from close range pinged straight into the keeper’s gloves. Another tricky run from Dunn saw another shot and another that failed to find the target, the ideas from the wily attacker bang on, her execution just lacking.
The last chance of the half fell to the visitors, Schelin’s lay-off a good weight for a lively Marta as she nipped into the box, her low drive slipped past Hedvig Lindahl before cannoning off of the far post.
Chelsea push ahead
Just like the first-half, Chelsea started brightly after the break, earning a rash of corners in the early knockings of the second-half. Handed a golden opportunity to level the scores from the spot after Rafferty was felled in the area it was the visitors who were cheering once more as Musovic got a strong hand to Karen Carney’s penalty to push the errant ball onto the post.
Big save from Musovic to deny Carney from the spot pic.twitter.com/zDSSGi1GKD— S.Lawson (@lawsosop) February 12, 2017
Another strong drive from Dunn carved out another chance for the hosts, her initial effort cleared to Eni Aluko who saw her close range effort saved at the near post before the ball as recycled to the far for Carney to bury in the waiting net. The momentum very much with the Blues as they looked to complete their comeback.
A raft of changes followed before Ella Masar cracked her shot against the bar after finding good space in the area, her miss costly as Chapman hammered the ball home at the other end from outside the box just seconds later. The hosts chomping at the bit to add a third.
With fifteen minutes left on the clock Rosengård had six fresh pairs of legs on the pitch as they looked to push for an equaliser, white shirts flocked forward as blue dropped back to cover and preserve their lead. A spat of confusion at the back almost gifted Masar a goal, her chip over Lindahl cleared off of the line by Hannah Blundell with Lieke Martens eating up ground to tap home.
Nice link-up between Ali Riley and Martens bore a late corner, the set-piece taken short and sent back in by Lina Nilsson, the effort at the back post skimmed the face before again being sent back in. With bodies jumping for the ball left and right it was Masar who won in the air and flicked a header just inside of the post to find a later equaliser.
Chelsea keen to regain their lead to looked to use the width to spark themselves back into life, Erin Cuthbert a livewire but unable to find a way past the combination of Berglund and Riley, the Blues forced to settle for a draw.
Options and unanswered questions
Regular pre-season disclaimer: both sides are out of season and only so much can be read into any p/s friendly.
We already know about what Chelsea can do in attack, their greatest strength only increased in the recent transfer window. Crystal Dunn was the bright spark for the Blues, far better out wide with free roam the US international remained a persistent threat throughout and probably should have had a goal to show for her trouble. Erin Cuthbert had a nice late cameo, the Scottish international with so much to show this year, so too Deanna Cooper who generally looked unfazed when she came on late in the game.
Maren Mjelde is well versed with playing as a centre back and adds important experience at the back although you'd assume starting three midfielders as her back three isn't Hayes' long term plan - the Norwegian another who remained composed and alert throughout.
The draw will feel like a loss for Chelsea who'll feel that they should have sealed their win but with so many options in the squad it's not just important to play friendlies against big teams but to rotate and test players and combinations out - rotation something that is likely to feature in the Spring Series.
Despite finishing second in the Damallsvenskan last year, Rosengård flattered to device at times. Injuries no doubt playing their part but the team on show in Sutton still one that left questions unanswered, nothing wrong per se but overall subpar for their collective abilities. Calmer in the first-half, FCR struggled with Chelsea's pressure after the beak and will have to find a way to strengthen in defensive midfield to keep the backbone from being overloaded.
The last thing of note was Sanne Troelsgaard’s late debut for the former Swedish champions, well documented as looking for more help up top after the recent departures of Nataša Andonova and Gaëlle Enganamouit has been all but confirmed as their newest signing. Her late introduction one of three that looked to change the game [when she came on with Lieke Martens and Hanna Persson], whilst Troelsgaard didn’t do anything earth shattering in her fifteen minutes she added to the refreshed line-up and will offer Jack Majgaard something different.