Chelsea 3-0 (8-0) Benfica: WSL title holders are through to the Round of 16 in the Uefa Women's Champions League
Photo credit: Steven Paston - PA Images for GettyImages

There were never any worries for Chelsea on this cold and rainy evening when the Blues welcomed Benfica for the second leg in the Uefa Women's Champions League Round of 32. 

The London team owned most of the ball possession and set a furious tempo from the early stage of the match. Two goals from No.9 Bethany England and one from Aussie Samantha Kerr gave the home team a 3-0 win in a game where Emma Hayes had decided to rotate her squad heavily.

  • The game

It was clear that the Chelsea players that were given the opportunity to start for the first time this season were dedicated to showing that they earned their spot. Niamh Charles, Jessie Fleming and Hannah Blundell were all involved in the early chances created by  Chelsea in the early minutes. The tempo from the Blues was fast and furious, but the home side were lacking in focus in the final third. 

It took Chelsea 28 minutes to break Benfica down and when the first goal came, it came from something that looked like a cross from England but instead turned out to be an absolute stunner of a goal when the ball sailed into the net behind Benfica's goalkeeper. 

Embed from Getty Images

It could easily have been more than one goal for Chelsea, but the hasty decisions from the Blues inside the box were turning out to be crucial when both Charles' and Fleming's attempts for shots on target went high and wide. 

  • Second half

One change in the lineup was made when the second half kicked off as captain Magdalena Eriksson replaced Millie Bright in the backline next to Sophie Ingle, who played centre-back this evening. 

The Blues continued to press high up Benfica's half of the field and it eventually paid off when Norway international Guro Reiten's assist created a free space for Sam Kerr in minute 65 behind the Portuguese defenders and the Aussie easily rolled the ball into the goal to make the score 2-0. 

Emma Hayes decided to make room for Fran Kirby and Pernille Harder in the 67th minute, replacing Erin Cuthbert and Sam Kerr. Hayes' last substitution for the night came in minute 75 when Hannah Blundell was replaced with Drew Spence who got her 200th appearance for Chelsea.  

Coming from the bench, the two world-class players made an instant impact, with Harder twice going close. In 90th minute the Harder-Kirby link up paid off when they found each other perfectly on the right-hand side of the box before a forward running Kirby served England the ball just in front of the goal and she scored after a bit of a struggle.  The No. 9 flicked the ball into the back of the net with her heel. 

  • Takeaways

Although Chelsea's defence never really got tested, Sophie Ingle looked very confident in her new role as a centre-back alongside Mille Bright in the first half, and then partnering up with captain Magdalena Eriksson in the second. 

Niamh Charles took the opportunity to show Emma Hayes that she is definitely up to compete for a spot in the starting line up for Sunday's last league game of the year. The young England international was involved in creating chances from the build-up play as well as having chances to score herself. 

  • The opponents

Benfica settled back early on and made it difficult for Chelsea inside the box and managed to restrict the home team. 

From time to time the Portuguese side showed their skills by keeping their defence tight and composed while they managed to play themselves out from difficult situations amid intense Chelsea pressure.

  • How the teams lined up