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Women’s football round-up: Chelsea enjoy dream first leg in Champions League as Palace miss chance to go top of Championship

Chelsea took firm control of their Women’s Champions League quarter-final against Ajax after running out 3-0 winners in Amsterdam on Tuesday.

Lauren James opened the scoring for the Blues after 19 minutes with Sjoeke Nusken striking twice to secure their first leg victory.

The return fixture will take place at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

“It took us about 15 minutes to settle into a rhythm,” said Chelsea boss Emma Hayes.

“We were too open in that first part – too keen to go forward in the wrong moments. But once we settled into the game and started to use the width and switch the play well, we put two balls into the box and got two good goals.

“It was a very professional performance in the second half. There are 35,000 people in here [The Johan Cruyff Arena] – it’s quite intimidating. To perform the way we did away from home, we have shown that maturity in Europe.”

Crystal Palace missed the chance to go top of the Women’s Championship on Sunday afternoon after a 2-0 defeat at mid-table Sheffield United.

The Eagles, who beat the Blades 1-0 at Selhurst Park just a week before, headed to Bramall Lane looking to extend a run of three straight victories.

But two second-half goals – with Rachel Brown and Isobel Goodwin both finding the net – denied Laura Kaminski’s side the chance to move into pole position for the final stage of the season.

Sunderland were unable to create a gap between themselves and Palace at the top of the table after they fell to a 1-0 defeat at London City. The Black Cats stay top by one point but the Eagles have a game in hand over their title rivals.

Charlton put themselves back into contention for top spot after a 1-0 win at Durham on Sunday.

The Addicks, who suffered a defeat at home to Reading last time out, returned to winning ways through Elisha N’Dow’s sixth-minute strike.

Karen Hills’ side stay fourth in the table but moved level on points with second-placed Palace (33) and just a point away from Sunderland.

Charlton also have a game in hand over the current leaders.


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