Harder spares Chelsea’s blushes with late, late equaliser in 3-3 Champions League match against Wolfburg

By Paul Lagan at Kingsmeadow Stadium

Chelsea 3 v  Wolfsburg 3


Chelsea rescued a point from the jaws of defeat in a pulsating, but error-strewn Champions League group match against Wolfsburg at Kingsmeadow tonight.

A late, late goal from Pernille Harder spread the blushes of Emma Hayes side as they snatched a 3-3 draw having taken the lead then falling apart in the most uncharacteristic fashion. 

All three goals conceded by the west Londoners were from horrific errors in defence.

Theirs was a game Ann-Katrin Berger and Jess Carter will want to forget.

Chelsea started very positively- pushing the Germans back from the first blast of the whistle,

Pernille Harder, Guro Reiten and Sam Kerr all had half chances that a bit more composure would have seen converted into goal.

But on 12 minutes Kerr latched onto a long ball,  raced clear of the stuttering Wolfsburg rearguard, before producing the composure needed and clipped the ball over Almuth Schult with the outside of her right boot and the ball nestled comfortably into the back of the net to put then Blues 1-0 up.

A total mixup between Chelsea stopper and Erin Cuthbert, the only error in the opening 18 minutes saw the ball fall to  Tabea Wabmuth who skipped around Berger to poke the ball into the empty net for a surprise equaliser.

Some wonderful tricky football by Reiten and Harder saw the ball squared to Beth England. But the striker’s left-footer was scuffed, on target, but Schult snaffled it.

This was quickly followed by another smart move. But again the final part of the move was a shot by Melanie Leupolz that thundered wide of goal on 26 minutes.

Disaster struck again on 32 minutes when Berger needlessly kicked an aimless goal-kick to Carter which Jill Roord took full advantage of and rammed home past hapless Berger.

There were no changes by either side t half-time.

But within seconds of the restart, the Blues went further behind. Webmuth latched onto a woeful back pass by Carter to Berger and netted her second with a fantastic left footer from a tight angle that saw the ball seemingly go round Berger and plonk itself in the side-netting.

But on 50 minutes the Blues were back in the game – a period of ping-ball in the German penalty re saw England smash the ball home from close range.

Head coach Emma Hayes sacrificed goal-scorer England and brought on Fran Kirby.

Ineffectual Ji and Reiten were replaced by Jessie Fleming and Niamh Charles with 15 minutes left on the clock.

Harder had a shout for a penalty denied on 83 minutes as the Blues grew increasingly frustrated that they were unable to break through the German defence.

Cuthbert had a shot, but it was well wide of the goal.

Carter was then substituted for Sophie Ingle.

Deep into added time, Harder popped up and smashed home the face-saving equaliser.

Chelsea: Berger, Bright, Carter, Leupolz, England, Ji, Reiten, Eriksson, Kerr, Cuthbert, Harder

Subs: Musovic, Telford, Nouwen, Ingle, Kirby, Fleming, Mjelde, Charles, Spence, Andersson, Fox

Wolfsburg: Schult, Hendrich, Oberdorf, Janssen, Lattwein, Hugh, Rauch, Roord, Walter, Wendemeyer, Webmuth

Sub: Kassebaum, Weib, Blasse, Starke, Smits, Svava, Van de Sanden, Cordes, Knaak.



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