Chelsea 3-0 PSG: Lauren James bags brace as Blues seal top spot in Women’s Champions League group

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Lauren James scored twice as Chelsea clinched top spot in their Women’s Champions League group with a 3-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain in front of 10,129 fans at Stamford Bridge.

Emma Hayes’ unbeaten side had already qualified for the knockout phase and simply needed to avoid defeat to their French opponents by two or more goals to lock up their position.

Sam Kerr opened the scoring late in a close-fought first half, which saw the sides enjoy an even split of possession.

But the momentum shifted in the hosts’ favour after the restart when James, who had threatened throughout the opening period, netted two in seven minutes to hand her side the comfortable victory.

The Blues’ final group-stage match marked the first time since 2016 that Chelsea had taken on European competition at the Premier League venue.

Sandy Baltimore fired PSG’s first chance wide of the right post and Kadeisha Buchanan did well to prevent Kadidiatou Diani from converting an aggressive run down the left channel into any real opportunity.

Moments later, Diani nearly handed the visitors the lead when she unleashed an effort from distance but caught the crossbar.

Chelsea worked their way back up the pitch, Fran Kirby chasing the ball down down at the byline and sending a cross to the far post in the direction of James, who stuck out her right leg but could not get a foot on it to force in an opener.

The Blues started to settle in and James deftly dodged several PSG shirts before bouncing a shot in the direction of a diving Sarah Bouhaddi at the near post.

James tried again, winning a battle with her marker on the left of the area before charging in and rolling an attempt across the face of goal.

A goalless first half looked increasingly likely until the ball skipped just past Sakina Karchaoui and PSG failed to clear.

Kerr broke free, neatly transferring the ball from her right to left foot before unfurling an unstoppable effort into the top right corner.

Both sides looked aggressive to start the second half but Bouhaddi bungled a pass to her team-mate, instead directing it into the path of James who was able to toe it to Fran Kirby.

Another quick touch from Kerr perfectly set up James, who fired past the PSG keeper from the edge of the six-yard box for her first Champions League goal.

It took her just seven minutes to bag her brace after a well-worked passing sequence ended in a perfectly-placed touch from Kirby at the left of the area to tee up James’ composed second strike.

Kirby nearly set up a late fourth for the Blues but substitute Beth England directed her effort just off target, eliciting a gasp but not a goal as the game drew to a close.

Independent

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