Women's Champions League: Chelsea 2-0 Atletico Madrid

By Owen PhillipsBBC Sport
Fran Kirby in action for Chelsea Women against Atletico Madrid
Fran Kirby's goal was her third in the Champions League this season

Ann-Katrin Berger saved two penalties as Chelsea recovered from Sophie Ingle's early red card to earn a first-leg lead in their Champions League last-16 tie with Atletico Madrid.

Ingle saw red as she conceded a 12th-minute penalty, but Berger superbly saved from Deyna Castellanos.

Maren Mjelde's spot-kick put the Blues ahead after the break and Fran Kirby slotted a second from Sam Kerr's pass.

Berger's second penalty stop ensured a 2-0 lead for next Wednesday's return.

The tie will be played in Monza, Italy because of travel restrictions for entry to Spain caused by Covid-19.

The neutral venue will further help two-time Champions League semi-finalists Chelsea, who were already strong favourites to go through to the last eight thanks to German keeper Berger's brilliant save from Merel van Dongen and a sensational team performance.

Chelsea had dominated the early stages, Ji So-Yun curling an effort wide and Pernille Harder twice going close.

Even Ingle's red card for bringing down Rasheedat Ajibade did little to change the pattern of play, with Chelsea's superior quality, pace and movement too much for the Spanish side, who knocked Manchester City out of the competition in the past two seasons.

The Blues, boosted by Berger's heroics, managed the game ruthlessly and continued to create chances.

Kerr shot narrowly wide before winning the spot-kick which Mjelde slotted home.

England striker Kirby marked another excellent display with a measured strike into the bottom corner less than 20 seconds after hitting the post.

And, although Berger's rash challenge on Ludmila brought a second penalty, she made amends with another stunning diving save.

Maren Mjelde scores for Chelsea against Atletico Madrid
Mjelde slotted Chelsea ahead from the penalty spot, beating former Blues keeper Hedvig Lindahl

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes told BT Sport: "I'm so proud of them. The leadership in my group is unbelievable. I don't know how many teams could go down to 10 against Atletico and do what we did.

"I don't think it was about resilience because we already have that - it was about discipline. We were brilliant. I always bang on about our character and I think it showed. Everyone tuned in and I thought they were extremely calm [after the red card].

"The first penalty save was crucial because it's a time when you might wonder how difficult the evening is going to be. The second penalty we conceded was reckless on our part but Ann and our back four deserved the clean sheet."

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