BY PAUL LAGAN
Chelsea men’s and women’s side have a great chance to reach their respective Champions League finals and create club history.
Emma Hayes’ charges need to overturn a 2-1 semi-final first leg deficit against German outfit Bayern Munich on Sunday at Kingsmeadow to book their place in the final in Gothenburg while the men, fresh from Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw in Spain against Real Madrid, know that a 0-0 draw or any victory will propel them to the final in Istanbul at the end of May.
The men, fourth in the Premier League, face Fulham at Stamford Bridge tomorrow needing the three points to keep the heat on fifth-placed West Ham in the battle for a top four finish.
Christian Pulisic scored the vital away goal in Madrid.
The American winger, 22, said: “It was not an easy game at all. We had to really run a lot against a tough team.
“They moved the ball well so there’s some stuff we can look at to improve but overall we played a good game. It’s a good result.”
For his goal, scored in the 13th minute to take the lead, he said: “I felt my control could have been better but then I turned around and saw I was pretty much one-on-one with the keeper.
“I didn’t have a great angle so I took a couple more touches and then tried to be a bit composed and find the right time to get a shot off. Thankfully, it was a good goal.”
The Blues dominated the opening 45 minutes with Madrid taking control of the second.
Pulisic said: “We didn’t concede too many chances but their goal came out of nowhere from a set-piece and that changed the momentum a little bit.
“They had more confidence and made it tough for us. We could have been more clinical and scored more goals but we’ll take a 1-1 in Madrid. We’re positive going into the second leg but the job is nowhere near done.”
Hayes is sweating on the fitness of skipper Magda Eriksson, who missed the match on Sunday with a persistant niggling calf problem.
The Sweden international is the only injury doubt but with right-back Maren Mjelde out for the season, Hayes knows she needs centre-back Eriksson to stabilise a back four that looked shaky against the Germans.
Vice-skipper Millie Bright has sent out a warning to the opposition.
She said: “They’ve got to come to our ground now and anyone that comes to Kingsmeadow will find it difficult.
“It’s our home ground, our pitch, our home, it’s going to be a big game and we will leave everything out on the pitch.”
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.